Monday 21 January 1660/61

This morning Sir W. Batten, the Comptroller and I to Westminster, to the Commissioners for paying off the Army and Navy, where the Duke of Albemarle was; and we sat with our hats on, and did discourse about paying off the ships and do find that they do intend to undertake it without our help; and we are glad of it, for it is a work that will much displease the poor seamen, and so we are glad to have no hand in it.

From thence to the Exchequer, and took 200l. and carried it home, and so to the office till night, and then to see Sir W. Pen, whither came my Lady Batten and her daughter, and then I sent for my wife, and so we sat talking till it was late. So home to supper and then to bed, having eat no dinner to-day.

It is strange what weather we have had all this winter; no cold at all; but the ways are dusty, and the flyes fly up and down, and the rose-bushes are full of leaves, such a time of the year as was never known in this world before here. This day many more of the Fifth Monarchy men were hanged.

34 Annotations

First Reading

Leo Starrenburg  •  Link

"we sat with our hats on": does this mean strictly business ?

And it's good to know the weather was playing tricks then as well as now.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"and we sat with our hats on" was this a sign of disrespect or rather that they were at ease? why is he mentioning it?

Dana Haviland  •  Link

"The Duke of Albemarle" is George Monk as was, unless I'm much mistaken? Not born to a title, but rather elevated after the Restoration? 'Keeping their hats on' would perhaps be a discreet way of signaling this distinction. In the not-distant past, the Quakers had left their hats on in church and in public as a form of protest against all forms of class distinction. As for Monk, from what I've read of him, I don't think he'd give a toss one way or the other, but perhaps I assume too much.

Emilio  •  Link

with our hats on

L&M to the rescue . . . not a sign of disrespect, but perfectly customary: "A sign of equality of status among the members of the meeting; the parliamentary commissioners would (as M.P.'s) normally be in the habit of wearing their hats when at work, either in committee or in the House."

Michael  •  Link

"we sat with our hats on" -
Just as a Christian takes off his hat in church those of lower rank take off their hats in the presence of their betters, right up to the King. Preserving the right to keep ones hat on can be a special privilege, as it was explicitely bestowed upon, e.g., some members of the Spanish high nobility in front of the King. It is not surprising that status conscious SP notices these things. But whether they mean that the somewhat egalitarian Duke simply does not care or that Sam has discovered another fringe benefit of his rising rank is hard to say. Both interpretations seem to be possible, and both would be noteworthy to him.

language hat  •  Link

quintessence of Pepys:
"It is strange what weather we have had all this winter; no cold at all; but the ways are dusty, and the flyes fly up and down, and the rose-bushes are full of leaves, such a time of the year as was never known in this world before here. This day many more of the Fifth Monarchy men were hanged."
What a writer!

Emilio  •  Link

to Westminster

Wheatley's transcription seems to have left out a word; L&M have them going "to Westminster-hall".

Emilio  •  Link


L&M footnote: "Dr D. J. Schove writes: 'This and to a lesser extent the following winter were the mildest in England between at least those of 1647-8 and 1675-6.'"

Re the discussion in yesterday's annos on Josselin's weather reports, all this does suggest that warm, dry, and springlike was probably the correct for the date. And what a contrast with the bitter cold of last winter!

"It snowed hard all this morning, and was very cold, and my nose was much swelled with cold."…

David Quidnunc  •  Link

This date a watershead in Quaker history

This date is noted on a number of websites about the Quakers and pacifism. The "Declaration of 1660" issued this day is part of a shift from individual pacifism among the Society of Friends to a more organized commitment. More here:…

vincent  •  Link

about Hat doffing P29 from the TWTUD C.Hill ; "...confirmed the hostility to the hierarchy..." [cosen to mon-archy and an-archy] "... We recall the oatmeal-maker who on trial before the High Commission in April 1630 , said he would never take off his hat to Bishops. " But you will to Privy Councillors" , he was urged . ' Then as you are Privy Councillors, ' quoth he,' I put off my hat ; but as you are the rags of the beast, lo! I put it on again..."
Hats and Doffing. A "gentleman" always dofts his 'at[titfer] to the Ladies
The Absolute Monarch is losing some power but not much. We just had one experiment in eQuality which turned into near anarchy. We are still trying to establish the pecking order and on what terms. Brains, Brawn, Birth or Business[money]

vincent  •  Link

There is more to this about "...for paying off the Army and Navy, ....did discourse about paying off the ships and do find that they do intend to undertake it without our help; and we are glad of it, for it is a work that will much displease the poor seamen, and so we are glad to have no hand in it..."
The Pay out; I'm sure that there is skimming [to be had]that had a part to play but it suited SP fine as he it appears he was a little squeemish when faced by an angry crowd of Jack Tars that were receiving some of their pay in "IOU"s' which they had to be sold for huge discounts in order to eat. [ Not unlike what happened to the Russians [after change of their modern regime]when paid off in a share of the community business which thy did not understand and it did not buy a toddy] .

David Quidnunc  •  Link

"as was never known in this world before here"

AFTER he writes about going to bed (which usually appears at the very end of a diary entry) Sam is commenting on the strangeness of the weather, almost as if he's thinking about it in bed late at night. And he mentions the Fifth Monarchists, those scary rebels who were sure the end of the world was imminent. Sounds eerie.

Also (even though he's commenting on mild weather), those last two sentences sound a bit like discussions in English class about the chain of being and strange weather being associated with political upheaval in works by Shakespeare and other authors. Pepys might have been thinking about the unusual politics and unusual weather as being linked somehow, which would make the last sentence of today's entry fit in pretty well with the one before it. In early 1660 wasn't there a great wind that many people took as a portent of political change? I can't find the exact entry where that's mentioned.

"CORRESPONDENCES: An integral part of the medieval and Renaissance model of the universe known as the 'Chain of Being' ... The idea was that different links on the Chain of Being were interconnected and had a sort of sympathetic correspondence to each other. Each type of being or object (men, beasts, celestial objects, fish, plants, and rocks) had a place within a hierarchy designed by God. Each type of object had a primate, which was by nature the most noble, rare, valuable, and superb example of its type. For instance, the king was primate among men, the lion among beasts, the sun among celestial objects, the whale among fish, the oak among trees, and the diamond among rocks. Often, there was a symbolic link between primates of different orders--such as the lion being a symbol of royalty, or the king sleeping in a bed of oak. This symbolic link was a 'correspondence.' However, correspondences were thought to exist in the material world as well as in the world of ideas. Disturbances in nature would correspond to disturbances in the political realm (the body politic), ..."…

------------------------------------------- "but when the planets
In evil mixture to disorder wander,
What plagues and what portents! what mutiny!
What raging of the sea! shaking of earth!
Commotion in the winds! frights, changes, horrors,
Divert and crack, rend and deracinate
The unity and married calm of states
Quite from their fixure!"

-- Shakespeare's "Troilus and Cressida," Act 1 Scene 3 (Ulysses speaking)
(Sam never saw the play -- at least in the diary years -- but a book of Shakespeare plays is mentioned in the diary in 1663)…

Roger Arbor  •  Link

Weather? The first signs of global warming... forsooth.

PHE  •  Link

Painting a picture
Language Hat's comment is very true. The weather entry demonstrates how observant Sam was with reference to minor, but picture-painting details where others may simpy say "the weather is unusualy mild for the time of year". This also gives an indication that Sam was probably a pretty good story-teller - well-suited to his sociability and regular 'merry-making'.

helena murphy  •  Link

George Fox,the founder of The Society of Friends, refused to take off his hat in the presence of Charles II.The King tactfully stated that one of them at least should go bare headed, and then very graciously removed his!

helena murphy  •  Link

Albemarle is a non royal duke,having been born a commoner,unlike the king's brother,James Duke of York who is a royal duke.However,Albemarle wields the same if not more power than James in domestic and foreign affairs being one of the king's "inner ring"of advisers .As Duke of Albemarle he has been given a royal palace and land worth 9000 pounds annually.He is also Lord Lieutenant of the county in which he has most land.He is Captain-General of the armed forces and Master of Horse.Now that he has joined "the club" of privileged nobility I am sure he is outwardly still a very fine fellow not lacking in the common touch,but egalitarian is a word I would no longer choose to apply to him.
sources:Ronald Hutton,Charles II King of England,Scotland,and Ireland OUP 1989

Kevin Sheerstone  •  Link

Yes, lh, what a writer indeed.

I can't help picturing a scene from a bad western - "Good Day for a Hanging"?

vincent  •  Link

Life,luck & what is it about Alfie.Each and every one has their own view. Why the wind? why the flood?
Why? When the first time ones sees frogs and fish falling from the sky. It makes one wonder, especially when one is five years of age. Thank goodness for books to make one comprehend that you are not the only one that has strange things happen to them and the thoughts that go with this experience.
Welcome Father Christmas and the Witch doctor.

tc  •  Link

...will much displease the poor seaman...

It is reassuring to read that Sam at least seems to have recognized that the lot of the common Jack Tar is no bed of roses...he is happy to be able to avoid what will likely be a nasty piece of work- stiffing a bunch of poor buggers from some portion of what they probably think they have earned.

It will be decades, even, dare I say centuries before the English Navy ceases to employ some questionable practices when manning the fleet. Impressment (War of 1812, anyone?) and incredibly low wages often made life before the mast just one step up from slavery...and throw in a sadistic captain with a taste for the lash...and you have a recipe for disaster. (Mr. Christian! Calling Captain Bligh!)

It wasn't unusual for a ship to return to England after being months, even years away, and the Navy would not release the crew, pay them off, or even let them go ashore; rather, they would be reassigned to other ships, or stuck on the same ship sitting at anchor in Plymouth or Portsmouth or at the mouth of the Thames, with land and home just a stone's throw away, and then be sent off again for months or years. Tough on the wife and family at home!

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: will much displease the poor seaman

True enough, TC, but I can't help wondering if the common Jack Tars will know enough about the situation *not* to blame the Navy Office, which is usually the source of their blessings, right? Sam has the right instincts, but I wonder if they'll do any good...

language hat  •  Link

Calling Captain Bligh!
Off topic, but Bligh comes off much better in the actual history of the mutiny (as opposed to the movies) than do the mutineers.

tc  •  Link


Language Hat properly points out that the contemporary picture most of us have of Captain Bligh is based on the movies, whose historical accuracies are questionable. He was probably a bad example to use in my prior comments, and actually there is a great deal to admire in the real Bligh: his incredible journey after being booted off the Bounty with those of his crew who stayed loyal to him is one of the great small boat navigations on record...

Second Reading

Tonyel  •  Link

Weather and politics links:
One of our local government crackpots has just suggested that the recent floods in the UK are a sign of God's disapproval of gay marriage laws. It has been pointed out that the Lord's aim must be poor as he missed London and parliament by several hundred miles.
Plus ca change......

Dick Wilson  •  Link

Bligh was a superb navigator -- sailing a longboat to Timor proved that. But later, assigned to a land post in Australia, guess what, he provoked another mutiny. Royal Naval officers were expected to be gentlemen, not just by birth, but in character and behavior.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"it is a work that will much displease the poor seamen, and so we are glad to have no hand in it."

See… The commissioners finished paying off the army on 26 January. The standing army of the revolution was thus peacefully disbanded: Merc Pub., 31 January, p. 53.

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The point that the 3 Navy Board men negotiated with their hats on before the "Commissioners" [for paying off the forces] indicated that they did not concede superiority. They spoke as equals to the Members of Parliamentary Commission appointed to make these payments.
As I recall this Commission included William Prynne MP and…
Col. John Birch MP…
both of whom had experience in dealing with the sailors and paperwork.

LKvM  •  Link

TC, Admiral Nelson once used the tactic of staying at anchor for two years to prevent seamen from leaving the ship!
Dick Wilson, Bligh was completely exonerated after the second mutiny, which was about rum in Australia. Also, he must have been a gentleman, since he retired as Vice-Admiral of the Blue.

john  •  Link

@SDS -- You make a valid point often missed here: The business with hats was not one of social status.

Michael Cook  •  Link

Sam took home £200. Thats over £30,000 at todays value. Will we hear what this was for?

Michael Cook  •  Link

I should have introduced myself to the amazing Sam and all the amazing people who are so knowledgable about his life and times. Thank you for all the fascinating information

MartinVT  •  Link

About the 200 l. — Sam is often moving money around either for Montagu or for the naval office, and often doesn't make it clear what it's for. Back on January 3, he visited the Exchequer and "told" (tolled, or counted) "what money I had of my Lord’s and my own there, which I found to be 970l." Today, he probably withdrew some cash out of that for my Lord, because Sam himself would not need that kind of money around the house. Or, it was needed at the office.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Sam took home £200. Thats over £30,000 at today's value. Will we hear what this was for?"

Read on, Michael -- maybe we will, and maybe we won't. Only time will tell.

Michael Cook  •  Link

I assume the 200l was in the form of Treasury Note/s.... Printing money has it's problems even now.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I don't think so, Michael. I think gold and/or silver coins. Bank notes were an 18th century innovation in Britain. And why go to the Exchequer for an IOU or Letter of Credit, which would hardly warrent an immediate note of being "carried home"? You immediately carry something bulky or heavy or valuable.

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