Thursday 2 May 1661

Up, and Mr. Creed and I to walk round the town upon the walls. Then to our inn, and there all the officers of the Yard to see me with great respect, and I walked with them to the Dock and saw all the stores, and much pleased with the sight of the place.

Back and brought them all to dinner with me, and treated them handsomely; and so after dinner by water to the Yard, and there we made the sale of the old provisions. Then we and our wives all to see the Montagu, which is a fine ship, and so to the town again by water, and then to see the room where the Duke of Buckingham was killed by Felton.1

So to our lodging, and to supper and to bed.

To-night came Mr. Stevens to town to help us to pay off the Fox.

25 Annotations

First Reading

dirk  •  Link

"the room where the Duke of Buckingham was killed by Felton"

This story is also (very romantically) retold in "The Three Musketeers" by Alexandre Dumas. It's actually a vital part of the plot...

dirk  •  Link

"there we made the sale of the old provisions"

So that's the business that brought Sam to Portsmouth...

Vicente  •  Link

Long watery history doth Ports mouth have, it were called Magnus Portus by the Latins.
Don't forget the trip is to sack some sailors, to pay off ships. 'Tis a common problem, redundacy,layoff,sacking, get rid of the layabouts, then when we need them,we know where to find them {besotted no doubt}, don't we, I wonder how many, get chits in lieu of cash?
Re: Felton was he a villian or hero?
I mean to say, A Duke did not deserve his cumuppence now, or doth he ?
Are thee now, all Royalists that be reading this, no whigs listening to affluence talking.
Sam, doling out the Goodies,[no dole for letgoes], who is really paying for this largess.

JBailey  •  Link

And I wonder who is buying these old provisions and what shape they are in?

Surely they must be old, stale, and rotten if they were not adequate even for poorly paid sailors.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"old provisions"
I took this to mean naval provisons especially for onboard ship (ship's biscuit and salted pork in barrels)which were no longer needed as the ships were being laid off.
They could be old, but this type of ration is made to last. Here in Australia, isolated early settlements used to be given naval supplies of salt pork and biscuit to last three years and were then expected to live off the land for the rest. No wonder scurvy became rife!

George  •  Link

Long watery history doth Ports mouth have, it were called Magnus Portus by the Latins
Now known as "Pompey" Where does that come from?

Pedro.  •  Link


I have always thought it came from the naval jargon, short for Portsmouth Point (Pom.P), as many terms from the forces are commonly used, for example "Blighty" for Britain.
If not convinced take your pick from;…

AlanB  •  Link

Pehaps Our Sam should heed Charlie's 'Great Uncle Bucks', who prior to the stabbing pain experienced in his heart whilst in Pompey, had been in port to 'try to pacify mutinous sailors who were clamouring for their pay ....' Sam needs somewhere secure to sleep else he might be 'much troubled'

JWB  •  Link

Sale of provisions...
Note Sam and Creed are Sandwich men and Sandwich to shortly sail to Port. and Tangiers. Sale of the stale provisions, I surmise, to partially provide for pruchase fresh stores. The money kept safely under Sandwich's thumb, no leeking, with reliable Sam (& Creed).

tc  •  Link

Then we and our wives all to see...

A little business trip with the wives- take care of the business first (and how Sam is coming to appreciate the deference shown him by the Naval rank and file!) with a nice dinner for the officers; and then collect the ladies for some sightseeing...not all that different from today.

As for the old provisions...well, maybe someone very very hungry would want to eat from a three year old barrel of salt pork or salt beef (or salt horse, as it rightfully came to be known)...but not me! Or how about a couple of barrels of biscuits long past their prime? In such a case, always choose between the lesser of two weevils...(O'Brian's pun from the mouth of Maturin)

tc  •  Link

Old provisions (continued...)

Of course as I think about it, a three-year old barrel of salt meat might actually be considered pretty fresh. How about a thirteen year old barrel? Or a thirty year old barrel? What was the "Best if used by..." date on a barrel of salt meat in Sam's day, or today for that matter? (Calling Spam fans for info here)

One shudders to contemplate how long some barrels must have banged around in the holds of ships if the ship's purser didn't "rotate the stock".

In addition, there are many stories about unscrupulous operators who deceived, who did exploit the scene and situation by buying old provisions and then either putting the old meat in new barrels, or relabelling the old barrels themselves, and selling them back to the Navy. They could be myths of the provisioning yard, but I doubt it..

helena murphy  •  Link

A duke deserve his "cumuppence"? Let history speak for itself. John Felton was an unemployed naval officer when he assassinated Buckingham.The previous year he had begged the duke for the command of a company.
"Without such a position I cannot live!"he claimed.
"In that case,you had better go hang," the duke coolly replied, words which of course came back to haunt him when he recognised his assassin in Portsmouth.
Buckingham was handsome,cultivated,cunning and intelligent ,but he lacked great intellect. He was not on a par with the great European statesmen of the day such as the Spanish Count de Olivares, Cardinal Richelieu,and later Cardinal Mazarin. Both the latter could evoke and be guided by the virtue of humility when confronted with the lower orders,or as Kipling put it centuries later ,to walk with kings and never lose the common touch.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Worm-eaten biscuits and mouldy salt porkk -- were these not the sparks of mutiny on some Navy missions?

Australian Susan  •  Link

Old provisons cont.
Following on from what tc said: Naval ratings became notorious for their (usually well-founded) suspicions about their rations. In the 19th century, tinned meat was introduced to the Navy.The sailors were unhappy about this: they wanted to know exactly what was in the cans. Soon a rumour spread that it was human meat. This arose from a then popular press story about a young girl who had disappeared, but whose corpse was never found. The sailors soon decided they knew what had happened to the body - it was in their cans of meat! The press referred to the girl as "Sweet Fanny Addams", so the Naval ratings took to saying tehir rations were "Sweet Fanny Addams" or "Sweet F.A." Thus a cliche was born. I think...!
The sailors wwere quite right to be suspicious of cans. The first expedition to be so provisioned was the one to discover the NW Passage led by Franklin (ex-Gov. of Tasmania). The entire expedition perished of lead poisoning from the solder sealing the cans. Sweet F.A. indeed.

Linda Camidge  •  Link

Or possible from botulism (the Navy having taken a ridiculously low tender for the tinned food). Again, take your pick.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"the Duke of Buckingham was killed by Felton"

The house wherein the murder was committed in August, 1628, is situated at the upper end of the High Street, at Portsmouth, and its remains are now known as No. 10 in that street. It was occupied recently as a ladies' school. A representation of the front of the house is given in Brayley's Graphic Illustrator, p. 240.
---Diary and correspondence of Samuel Pepys, the diary deciphered by J. Smith. 1854.

arby  •  Link

Thanks Sasha, lotta dead links lately.

jude cooper  •  Link

Frustrating how many links have expired- we are definately second generation pepysists in 2014. Good luck with the links, you readers in 2024!

john  •  Link

With respect to dead links, I have faith that the Wayback Machine will still be around in 2024.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED offers:

‘Pompey, n. Etym: Apparently originally < Pompey, Anglicized form of the name of the Roman statesman and general Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, . . although the reason for the application of the name in any of the senses is unclear.

The origin of sense 3 has been the subject of much conjecture; no documentation has been found to support any of the various explanations which have been put forward, such as an association with the name of the French ship La Pompée (captured by the British at Toulon in 1793 and subsequently based at Portsmouth), or with the ancient column at Alexandria, nicknamed Pompey's Pillar (which was reportedly scaled by sailors from Portsmouth). Considerably earlier currency of the nickname is perhaps implied by the phrase paws off, Pompey : see paw n.1 2c and discussion at that entry*.

. . 3. slang. A nickname for: the town and dockyard of Portsmouth, in Hampshire. Also: Portsmouth Football Club. Earliest documented with reference to the football club.
1899 Harwich & Dovercourt Free Press 25 Feb. , Portsmouth R. A., who are known in their own neighbourhood as 'Pompey', have undoubtedly a good record . .

* c. paws off: = hands off int. Earliest in ‘paws off, Caesar’ and (esp.) ‘paws off, Pompey’, Caesar and Pompey formerly being popular names for dogs.
. . 1803 Cartoon 16 Apr. in Catal. Prints: Polit. & Personal Satires (Brit. Mus.) (1947) VIII. 138, I ax pardon Master Boney, but as we says Paws off Pompey, we keep this little Spot to Ourselves.’

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