Friday 15 February 1660/61

At the office all the morning, and in the afternoon at making up my accounts for my Lord to-morrow; and that being done I found myself to be clear (as I think) 350l. in the world, besides my goods in my house and all things paid for.

19 Annotations

First Reading

Lawrence  •  Link

Why is Sam getting his accounts okayed by Lord sandwich?

vincent  •  Link

Re:the books for me laud, he keeps the the family accounts, otherwise his lerdship would be losing the family stake to the Baiting Buckingham.
As for SP "...besides my goods in my house and all things paid for..."
[1 oz of gold = 2 10s 3?d ] then now L222.6/oz: approx L350/2.5 x 222=31,080 quid.
the diary has been good(s) to him.
[ 30,000 in the the hidey hole, no monthly payments for his ouysters or books.and no fodder to buy either ]
’Tis a good life if yer can find it.

Diana  •  Link

What would that be in American dollars?

Grahamt  •  Link

It would be £350 in America too:
It was still 100 years before America got its independance and its own currency. At today’s rate it would be $661, but that is meaningless as the rate has fluctuated a lot since the dollars inception.

Harvey Cohen  •  Link

SP prepares invoices and the like for his "my Lord" to re-imburse SP for payments already made. This being done -- he adds the total of tomorrows payments to his current balances to find that currently he has "clear" i.e., after Montagau has paid him, an amount of 350 pounds (curly L)

Alan Bedford  •  Link

"It would be £350 in America too:"

…but in 2004 USD that would be roughly $59,500, using the the 90:1 ratio that has been used in theis neighbo(u)rhood in the past. A pretty good increase from the 40 pounds or so that Sam was worth just a little over a year ago.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"clear (as I think) 350l. in the world"
While diverting, currency conversions across centuries are largely meaningless, because (a) the in-kind or barter economy (17th century) has shifted almost entirely to a money economy, (b) accompanying this shift is an enormous creation of wealth (several orders of magnitude) tied to similar increases in population. Better is simply to watch Sam accumulate accoutrements of wealth and status, and see with whom he successively becomes equal as he rises in Restoration socioeconomy.

Judy B  •  Link

You also have to consider that the average income in 1650 was only about £5 per year.

Even a year ago, Pepys’ £40 was a substantial amount of money for that time and gave him a much higher standard of living than he was used to in his middle class life.

Pepys is doing VERY well and just keeps packing it in!

Dadcat  •  Link

    ==> "making up my accounts" <==
Would this phrase have been ambiguous in the 17th century? (I don't mean so much "creating fictitious stories" as "jiggering my written reckonings so they come out right").

Also, in comparing yesteryear's monies to today's, would it work to provide something like this?
  "At the time, £350 would have represented:
- Half a year’s salary for a well-paid civil servant; or
- The price of a middle-class house in London; or
- The yearly food budget for five middle-class families."
(N.B.: I haven’t the foggiest idea if the above ratios are accurate; I’m just giving an example.)

Carolina  •  Link

£350 clear besides my goods in my house and all things paid for -
How many people today would be delighted to be able to state this ?

Comparing then with now is impossible, so, perhaps a "what would it have bought" comparison from someone ?

Vincent, stop counting the pebbles and get back to your research and keep us informed in your inimitable way !

We know Jane only gets about £3 per year, but what would say, a house cost to buy, or perhaps entrance to the theatre.

And Sam was a great writer - I don’t care what anyone says to the contrary. Look at how he shapes our lives and the things we have learned! You cannot say the same for dreary old Evelyn or Josselin, can you ?

vincent  •  Link

No debts known"...I found myself to be clear (as I think) 350l. in the world,..." No tabs at the local as far he does know.
Dives sum , si non reddo eis quibus debeo.
Plautus, Curculio, 377:
I am rich [man], if I do not give back to them that what I owe, or sumert like that.
RE: value; 'tis in the eyes of the beholder. Cost [of living] of very basic staples do tell the story. One must keep ones vulgas lot alive to remove that muck et al. The rest is up for grabs, thems that have values change based on desire.
An example to calculate a recipercal of 5.27 to power of minus 8 required those long forgotten tables, or mechanical device that cost 3 times an engineers annual salary[1950's], now the device comes free with ones corn flakes.
Then, now: cost of 1000 calories of munchies to stay alive tells the story.

dirk  •  Link

David Smith "clear (as I think) 350l. in the world"

I don't agree that the 17th c. economy was still mainly based on barter. It was a monetary economy, where in most cases goods were bought with money (tangible or intangible: coins or prom notes) and not traded for other goods. In the countryside there *might* still be *very occasional* bartering going on, but in cities like London the economy worked on money and people were paid in money - and thought of their possessions in terms of monetary value. (Just read Sam's diary for examples...)

tc  •  Link

...making up my accounts...

Dadcat- I don't think Sam is jiggering or otherwise fudging the books in any duplicitous manner; rather, the use of the phrase "making up" is likely the same as "doing", or as we might say it, "In the afternoon I did the books..."

No foul...yet. Perhaps in the future Sam will share some seventeenth century creative accounting tricks, when and if he finds needs to employ them.

Diana  •  Link

Thanks to all for the reply re : US currency. Not that I didnt realize there was no comparable US currency at the time; I was just trying to understand Sam's finances better.

dirk  •  Link

Some other people's income anno 1660...


Daily Money Wage Rates of Building Craftsmen and Labourers in Southern England:
1646-93 Labourer 12 p
1655-87 Craftsman 18 p

Calculating for approx 250 working days in a year (allowing for sundays and church holidays) this means:
Labourer: £12 10s per annum
Craftsman: £18 15s per annum

Even allowing for somewhat higher wages in London than in other parts of Southern England, Sam is earning a lot of money…

Second Reading

Dick Wilson  •  Link

Diana's question defies accurate answer, so here's a try at an inaccurate one. Using Vincent's price of 2 pounds 10 and 3 per (troy) ounce of gold in Sam's day, his 350 pounds could have bought 139.3 ounces. That could be sold today (Feb. 2014) for $183,416.31 in US Dollars. That's a good solid base of savings for an upper middle class household, but nowhere near enough for retirement. Also, the US did not really have a national currency until the Lincoln Administration. Prior to that, every bank printed its own money.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

The US always had a Mint, founded by the coinage Act of 1792. Apart from the revolutionary 'Continental', it also had official paper money issued by its two national banks, the second of which was effectively killed by President Andrew Jackson in 1836. After this, until Lincoln's 'greenbacks', the only legal tender was Mint specie (gold and silver coins), though as Dick said private banks issued their own notes.

joe fulm  •  Link

After yesterday's expansive valentine day entries it is back to business.

Third Reading

Charles Miller  •  Link

Just to update SPs value, according to the Bank of England’s historical converter, £350 in 1660 is worth £57,915.47 as at January 2024.

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