Saturday 9 February 1660/61

To my Lord’s with Mr. Creed (who was come to me this morning to get a bill of imprest signed), and my Lord being gone out he and I to the Rhenish wine-house with Mr. Blackburne. To whom I did make known my fears of Will’s losing of his time, which he will take care to give him good advice about.

Afterwards to my Lord’s and Mr. Shepley and I did make even his accounts and mine. And then with Mr. Creed and two friends of his (my late landlord Jones’ son one of them), to an ordinary to dinner, and then Creed and I to Whitefriars’ to the Play-house, and saw “The Mad Lover,” the first time I ever saw it acted, which I like pretty well, and home.

29 Annotations

First Reading

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

To whom I did make known my fears of Will's losing of his time

I really don’t understand what Sam means by this, or what Mr Blackburne had to do with it. Can anyone explain?

Glyn  •  Link

to an ordinary to dinner

See the glossary for more information about this:…

Concerning Will, I'm as puzzled as Jenny. Mr Blackburne is Will's uncle, so is the boy in trouble of some sort? (losing time = being late perhaps?)

dirk  •  Link


Will Hewer joined Sam's family on July 17th, and has so far mainly been running errands for him. Will is Blackburne's nephew, and it's Blackburne who commanded him into Sam's service. Obviously Sam has some comlaints about Will (too slow? lazy?), and Blackburne is the logical person to mention this to.

Susan  •  Link

How I read this is that Blackbourne was Will Hewer's uncle and presumably Pepys wanted Blackburne to have an avuncular word to the young relative about Hewer's work timekeeping. Pepys knew Hewer was an intelligent and able young man, he liked him, and would not have liked to have seen him getting into trouble.

Emilio  •  Link

"my late (land)lord Jones"

Sam refers to Jones only as "my late lord" in the L&M text, and I'm not sure how intentional Wheatley's change was. Col. Phillip Jones was Controller of the Household to both the Cromwells, and so may have been ultimate trustee of the Navy Board housing in the past, but not during Sam's tenure there. I think Sam probably only had in mind Jones's previously high place within the government rather than any connection he had to the Navy housing.

Sam's landlord at Axe Yard was Mr. Vanley, and I believe the Comptroller of the Navy would be his current landlord.

Alan Bedford  •  Link

...saw "The Mad Lover," the first time I ever saw it acted…

This was a drama by John Fletcher, one of about fifteen plays that he wrote without a collaborator. The plot has been described as “hopelessly absurd, and very deficient in respect of unity” (in the Cambridge History of English and American Literature… )

vincent  •  Link

Another play by Fletcher, John, Author 1616 "...then Creed and I to Whitefriars' to the Play-house, and saw "The Mad Lover," the first time I ever saw it acted, which I like pretty well…”
quote—- “I’ll put a spoke among your wheels.”
- Mad Lover (III, 5) [Proverbs]

Susan  •  Link

"...bill of imprest signed..." Was that for impressed men? That is - was it an authority to impress men? Or does "imprest" have to do with some kind of authority to get supplies for the Navy ships?

Oz Stu  •  Link

Will's time.

Wasn't Will effectively an apprentice ? Doing an apprenticeship is often referred to as "doing one's time". My take is that Sam was warning Blackbourne that Will's apprenticeship would be terminated if he didn't buck up his ideas (whether that was due to poor time-keeping, I'm not sure).

vincent  •  Link

"a bill of imprest signed" Could be a legal term of some historical accounting influence. Is there a chartered accountant or CPA in the house? My take is that this is a way of setting up a slush fund or expense account for legal small miscellaneous expenses. Googling, shows many historical institutions have such accounting ways.

vincent  •  Link

"of Will's losing of his time”, I do think it means that Will is not behaving and if fired will not have a career [or signed apprenticeship papers, 7 years to get before journey-man ]papers for his freeman, to have his own career], As he has to have signed papers approved by SP. I am sure there are rules published and required that express his abilities or the lack there of , not unlike City & Guilds or Higher National Certificatation for those who were from the wrong side of (H)eton. {That[aprentice/journeyman] was a major force in getting anywhere in industry or other career paths not including Palace of king or Bishop or the Legal fields}.

Hic retearius  •  Link

"Will's losing of his time"

It surely sounds like an apprenticeship issue here, too. If Will were to continue to fool around and not pay attention, Sam would discharge him and then he; perhaps more correctly, his uncle; would have to find a new master and Will would have to start over again or end up with nothing.

Sam is a smart, educated man who has reached the point of being "known around town". Will has a great opportunity in doing his time in the service of such a one and showing on his résumé everafter that he did his time under THE Sam Pepys.

Uncle must tell him to smarten up and not throw away such an opportunity.

Kevin Sheerstone  •  Link

'a bill of imprest signed'

In accounting an imprest account is one set up in anticipation of charges that are bound to be incurred, but which cannot be identified in advance with any speficity. 'Petty Cash' is a good example - when the balance gets a bit low for comfort it is replenished to an appropriate level by means of an imprest.

In this context it probably means money advanced to Sam for expenses in connection with his official duties; he will presumably account for it later.

Now I remember why I gave up accountancy.

xjy  •  Link

Will losing his time
This must be apprenticeship related, but I don't think Sam is saying Will is slacking so much as not thinking seriously enough about focusing his intentions and starting to work for a future career of some kind. In other words, stop accepting Sam's dead-end errands so cheerfully and demand to learn something about accounting or administration...

Barbara  •  Link

Will Hewer: I don't think he was an official indentured apprentice. I assume Pepys meant that he had been wasting his time, and a word from his uncle would buck him up a bit

Slight spoiler: it is interesting that Hewer had a very successful career, making a fortune in trade, managing to keep out of trouble and ending up far richer than Pepys, to whom he gave a home towards the end of his life

mary  •  Link

Will Hewer's position

At this date Will seems to be combining the duties of a clerk with duties as a manservant to Pepys. He lives with the family, bringing the Pepys household to six: Sam, Elizabeth, Pall, Jane, Wayneman and Will.

I agree with Barbara; Will seems to be employed with all found, rather than indentured.

vincent  •  Link

"Petty cash " is wonderful way of covering unusual and may be questionable expenses. Thanks for the explanation Kevin [should have stay'd with money trail {left hand to = right hand ?} derivatives are even better? ]

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

"To my Lord's with Mr. Creed (who was come to me this morning to get a bill of imprest signed)”…

Reads to me that Mr. Creed was seeking Sam’s signature on a petty cash account for Lord Sandwich.

dirk  •  Link


The word *may* be a bastard form derived from the French verb "emprunter", to borrow (or more likely even from Italian, the language of bookkeeping): i.e. in this case to receive money that that has to be repaid, or somehow justified in the future.

StewartMcI  •  Link

"Bill of Imprest" - actually it is directly from Latin, and the OED gives plenty of references before and after Pepys, including this diary entry. The meaning is simply "(an) authorisation for an advance (of monies)". I can vouch it was still a valid usage in the Royal Navy thirty years ago when I impressed for what was a great deal of money taking a minesweeper to France - and Dewar's Scotch Whisky duty free at ten shillings and sixpence a bottle !!!

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Will Hewer and apprenticeship

Pepy's was a Liveryman of the Clothworkers Company, later Master. He could certainly have taken Will as his formal apprentice, leading to Will becoming a freeman of both the Company and the City of London.

For illustrations of the ewer & basin and covered cup Pepys gave the Clothworkers when Master in 1677 see:-…

Kevin Sheerstone  •  Link

Barbara: "... to whom [Sam] he [Will Hewer] gave a home ..."

I have always liked this 'happy resolution' - 'the child is father of the man' sort of thing, even though there can have been only about ten years difference in age. (Do we know Will's age?)

mary  •  Link

The ages of Will, Jane and Wayneman

According to Tomalin, Will Hewer was 17 years old when he came into Pepys' service in 1660. Jane started working for Sam and Elizabeh in 1658 when she was 14. Tomalin estimates Wayneman's age to have been between 10 and 12 years old when he started work in 1660.

peter  •  Link

Every branch library I worked in Brooklyn NY had an "imprest fund". This was a fund of small change we kept to open the cash register each day. It could also be used as a petty cash fund for emergency expenses we didn't have time to properly voucher.

Emilio  •  Link

"my late landlord Jones"

In their Introduction (p. lxxxix), I see L&M mention 'landlord' here as an error that first cropped up in the Mynors Bright edition of the diary. Wheatley apparently didn't catch this goof as he was revising Bright's version to make his own.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I to Whitefriars’ to the Play-house, and saw “The Mad Lover,” the first time I ever saw it acted"

The playhouse was not the Whitefriars Theatre opened c. 1605, but Salisbury Court Theatre (opened in 1629), situated in Whitefriars district east of the Temple and south of Fleet St. Thee Duke of York's Company, managed by Sit William Davenant, played here before he transferred it to a new theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields in June 1661.
See… The play, a tragicomedy by John Fletcher, was first acted in 1617, and published in 1647.
(L&M note)

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"To my Lord’s with Mr. Creed (who was come to me this morning to get a bill of imprest signed), ... Afterwards to my Lord’s and Mr. Shepley and I did make even his accounts and mine."

Our Encyclopedia has a page for Financial Transactions, which gives helpful background info on how money was juggled in Pepys' time.
I say juggled because there wasn't enough coin minted to cover the daily transactions of the nation, but they had worked out how to fund Petty Cash as explained above.
England was then, as now, a nation run on credit, but without the interest rates we are hit with.
Quarter Day settlements were important; as soon as some coins hit your hand, you gave them to a supplier to up-date your account. Visualize an entire nation running around 4 times a year paying off IOUs and Bill of Impress and Tally Sticks!

Not that this entry has anything to do with Quarter Day.
This was settling up at the end of Sandwich's voyage (Creed must have been Treasurer -- and the Imprest must have been large for a 5 week Royal outing with many unexpected expenses for doctors, etc.), and the end of Pepys' control of the Sandwich Whitehall household in Shepley's absence. He who controls the money is in charge.…

Carol D  •  Link

Regarding deforestation of Europe and then North America I highly recommend the excellent historical novel 'Barkskins' by Annie Proulx.

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