Monday 27 May 1661

To the Wardrobe, and from thence with my Lords Sandwich and Hinchinbroke to the Lords’ House by boat at Westminster, and there I left them. Then to the lobby, and after waiting for Sir G. Downing’s coming out, to speak with him about the giving me up of my bond for my honesty when I was his clerk, but to no purpose, I went to Clerke’s at the Legg, and there I found both Mr. Pierces, Mr. Rolt, formerly too great a man to meet upon such even terms, and there we dined very merry, there coming to us Captain Ferrers, this being the first day of his going abroad since his leap a week ago, which I was greatly glad to see. By water to the office, and there sat late, Sir George Carteret coming in, who among other things did inquire into the naming of the maisters for this fleet, and was very angry that they were named as they are, and above all to see the maister of the Adventure (for whom there is some kind of difference between Sir W. Pen and me) turned out, who has been in her last.

The office done, I went with the Comptroller to the Coffee house, and there we discoursed of this, and I seem to be fond of him, and indeed I find I must carry fair with all as far as I see it safe, but I have got of him leave to have a little room from his lodgings to my house, of which I am very glad, besides I do open him a way to get lodgings himself in the office, of which I should be very glad.

Home and to bed.

33 Annotations

First Reading

daniel  •  Link

Indeed, a very busy Monday!

Tis good to see the poor Capt. Ferrers ambling about after his "desperate frolic".
what is this "giving up my bond for my honesty when I was his clerk" intrigue?

Bradford  •  Link

And can someone unscramble the domestic arrangement with the Comptroller?

"I find I must carry fair with all as far as I see it safe"---i.e., be as obliging as you can to everybody without getting yourself entangled in unwanted commitments. Not so much cynical as honestly practical, considering Sam's number of contacts.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"Captain Ferrers" That was a very quick recovery;so most likely it was just a muscular sprain, or he was faking it,or SP was overdramatizing it(he does write well,no question about it)

Nix  •  Link

"giving me up of my bond" --

As I read it, Samuel had to post a fidelity bond ("A guaranty of personal honesty of officer furnishing indemnity against his defalcation or negligence" -- Black's Law Dictionary) when he was a clerk in Downing's office, as security against embezzlement. It might have been cash, or an encumbrance of property (if he had any), or a third-party guarantee. Since he has left the job, and has been away long enough for any thefts to come to light, he wants the bond released.

Gus Spier  •  Link

Maisters of the Fleet?

Is this meant to be the sailing masters, those professional seamen who ensure the barky stays afloat in the general direction of their mission? Or is there some other, political office being apportioned here?

dirk  •  Link

"waiting for Sir G. Downing's coming out, to speak with him (…) but to no purpose”

It seems to me that this can be read in two ways:
1) Sir Downing came out eventually, but Sam didn’t get him to release his bond;
2) Sam waited for some time for Sir Downing to come out, but he didn’t, and Sam had to leave without having spoken to him.

I tend towards the first reading, but can we be sure?

Emilio  •  Link

"to see the maister of the Adventure . . . turned out, who has been in her list"

L&M think this is the same man Sam had vouched for back on the 20th: "Pen seeming to be in an ugly humour, not willing to gratify one that I mentioned to be put in, did vex me." They also read 'had been in her last' at the end of the sentence, a slightly more forceful way to describe someone newly turned out of his job.

My feeling is that the first guess is right, these are the ship masters being appointed. As with the captains, I'm sure the candidates are eager to buy their way to a commission, so there was money to be made from getting your candidates in.

vicente  •  Link

It does seem to fit Downings image ." me up of my bond..."
second point : The greasing of Palms[sweetners]. We have found new ways of increasing the wealth of a few. We have tried so many ways to equalised influence peddling. Of course pure charm and nice smile is the most popular way. Corruption of mind by smile is still not a crime. Attorneys, have still have not known how to take that to court and win.Provably facts about undue influence are still needed.

Hic Retearius  •  Link


Probably simply refers to the captains. To this day, "Master" is used in preference by many for the captain of a merchant ship and is the term used in English legal papers going back to the original insurance contracts made at Lloyd's coffee house. The wording of that contract is still in use today, by the way! Changes are wrought by adding things on. Nobody wants to change that original delicious, centuries old, wording that heads each contract.

vicente  •  Link

Navy or merchant: could be both as the navy did "lease?" ships on occasion, now returned it to the Merchants.

Hic Retearius  •  Link

Boiler plate with roots in Sam's day.

It took some digging to find. Here's a taste:

"and also upon the body, tackle, apparel, ordnance, munition, artillery, boat, and other furniture, of and in the good ship or vessel called the _______________whereof is master under God, for this present voyage, _____________ or whosoever else shall go for master in the said ship, or by whatsoever other name or names the said ship, or the master thereof, is or shall be named or called"

"they [insured perils] are of the seas, men of war, fire, enemies, pirates, rovers, thieves, jettisons, letters of mart and countermart, surprisals, takings at sea, arrests, restraints, and detainments of all kings, princes, and people, of what nation, condition, or quality soever"


Australian Susan  •  Link

Some of my ancestors were in merchant shipping in the 17th and 18th century in Whitby and Staithes. They decribed themselves as Master Mariners. One of them had all his ships requisitioned for the Napoleonic wars and lost the lot: government compensation was tardy and inadequate (if the family letters are accurate!). Probably the same thing happened in the 17th century: there were never enough ships in the Navy Fleet when war happened.

Mary  •  Link

" leave to have a little room from his lodgings"

The Navy Office domestic accommodation looks as if it is going to get another tweak and Sam is looking to enlarge his own quarters once more. However, given the history of the building, this need not involve major works; perhaps only the unlocking of a communicating door.

andy  •  Link

Good to see Cap'n Ferrers is up and about, a great story to dine out on!

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: the arrangement with the Comptroller

I think Mary's right about Sam's benefit from the arrangment with Slingsby (Sam gets to expand his accommodations), but to further answer Bradford's question, I think the other side of this quid-pro-quo deal is that Sam is going to get Slingsby a desk in the offices (which also makes Sam happy). That's the way I read it, anyway.

And, FWIW, it looks to me as if Downing never showed up (i.e., option 2 in Dirk's message above). I think if Downing had come out and turned him down, Sam would have written a bit more about it. The fact that he doesn't leads me to believe he'll simply try another day.

Advice to all: Never get two weeks behind in reading this site. Catching up is hard to do!

helena murphy  •  Link

MASTER Boatswain!
BOATSWAIN Here,master.What cheer?
MASTER Good;speak to th'mariners.Fall to't yarely,or we run ourselves aground.Bestir,bestir!
BOATSWAIN Heigh,my hearts! Cheerly,cheerly,my hearts!Yare,yare! Take in the topsail.Tend to th'master's whistle.[to the storm] Blow till thou burst thy wind,if room enough!


ALONSO Good boatswain,have a care.Where's the master?Play the men.
BOATSWAIN I pray now,keep below.
ANTONIO Where is the master,boatswain?
BOATSWAIN Do you not hear him? You mar our labour - keep your cabins. You do assist the storm.
GONZALO Nay,good,be patient.
BOATSWAIN When the sea is. Hence! What care these roarers for the name of king? To cabin.Silence!Trouble us not.
GONZALO Good,yet remember whom thou hast aboard.

Shakespeare,William The Tempest Act1 Scene 1

In The Tempest,as in Macbeth, Shakespeare uses the word master rather than captain to denote the man who commands the ship.

Pedro.  •  Link

"to see the maister of the Adventure . . . turned out, who has been in her list"

Sir George Carteret seems to be angry about more than one maister, and one in particular. As Sam was vexed on the 20th, and does not go “overboard” about this reaction, would Penn have had the last word on this appointment?

Rick Ansell  •  Link

Just to make it clear about Masters in the Navy of this period:

Each ship had both a Captain and a Master. The Captain was often basically a landsman (as were most Admirals) and almost always a landsman. He was, like the Lieutenants, a Commissioned Officer. The Master was a Warrant Officer who served under him and was a professional mariner responsible for navigation and the working of the ship.

The Captain directed what to do, the Master how to do it. In battle the Master was responsible for the detailed working of the ship, the Captain for overall command, the employment of the guns etc. including direction of the Master.

One of the changes that Pepys was involved in was the introduction of a requirement for Commissioned Officers to have some maritime skills, enforced by an examination. As time went on the role of the Master diminished but they were still around in the Napoleonic period, taking much of the load of detailed navigational work off the Captain.

Merchant ships had (and have) a Master who is also the Captain. The Master of a merchant ship might have the skills required of the Master on a Navy vessel but not (usually or officially) those required for military command.

Confusingly there was once a rank of 'Master and Commander' between Lieutenant and Post Captain, originally assigned to the commanders of ships too small to have both Captain and Master. In time the size of these ships grew and we had the 'anomaly' of ships with a Captain who was a Master and Commander and a Master.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"Masters and Captains" it does make sense; Captain is from Latin Caput for Head; Master is from Latin for Magister for Teacher.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Further to my posting above about Master Mariners
My ancestors who were in merchant shipping described themselves as Master Mariners, but they also owned some ships and didn't always go to sea: it was a family business - father to son to son - all with the same Christian name, which makes sorting out who was doing what when confusing. They also owned farms near the seaports were they were based (Sunderland, Staithes, Whitby). This was in the 17th and 18th century. During wartime it seems ships were requisitioned along with their Master Mariners, but then had military personnel added to them. Presumably Royal Naval vessels always had a military officer structure. Rick Ansell's posting makes it all very clear. Now we all know who Russell Crowe was being!

Emilio  •  Link

Would Penn have had the last word on this appointment?

He and Batten split the task between them, cutting the rest of the principal officers out of the profits. From the 20th: "Then to the office, where I found Sir Williams both, choosing of masters for the new fleet of ships that is ordered to be set forth." Carteret will still be peeved days from now.

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

I was in the US Merchant Marine in the '50s and have seen several masters licences. They state the type of vessel, maximum tonnage (displacment), and what part of the world. I've seen just two that included any vessel (sail, steam, etc.) any tonnage, and any ocean.

A master mariner would have a license like this (almost surely not licensed for sail these days) and would be a master mariner.

He would also be the captain and has the complete responsiblity for his vessel.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

and indeed I find I must carry fair with all as far as I see it safe

Sam is, by far, the most junior member of the Navy Office -- there for his clerkly skills, not experience -- and he must contend with older men used to getting their own way and feathering their own nests, especially the crusty Sir William Penn, conqueror of Jamaica. He has to get along with all of them even when his elders fall afueding. It's a tricky position.

Rick Ansell  •  Link

As the film M&C has been mentioned I hope I will be forgiven for clarifying the situation in that movie.

In the film Captain Aubrey (Russell Crowe) is a full captain, in the rank of Post Captain. Several times you see him consult with a grey haired man in a plain blue coat, Mr Allen (Robert Pugh). Mr Allen is the Master of the Surprise.

The name Master and Command: The Far Side of the World refers to two of the novels by Patrick O'Brian: the first, Master and Commander, where Captain Aubrey is newly promoted to that rank, and the tenth (of twenty) upon which the film is loosely based.

Note: Whilst there were many similarities between the navies of the Napoleonic era and the 1660s there were a lot of differences. For example the lack of treatment for scurvy and the absence of coppering for ships bottoms limited the length of routine voyages and the time ships could spend between stays in port to clean their hulls. Fighting tactics differed, as did ships rigs. Finally the commissioned officers were often effectively amateurs as opposed to the career professionals of the later period (a change started by Pepys).

Pedro  •  Link

The Adventure.

Later in the year Sandwich would meet de Ruyter in the Bay of Fuengirola see...…

Sandwich in his journal says that de Ruyter "had fell in company with three English men of war on the 10/20 July, the Assistance...the Adventure, Captain Hugh Hide commander and 4 merchant ships which he thought were laden with horse for Portugal."

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

In the House of Commons today was passed a series of resolutions that "traiterous Writing, in burned on Tuesday Morning, being the Twenty-eighth of May Instant, in Westminster Hall, by the Hand of the common Hangman: And the Sheriff of Middlesex is to take Order, that the Executioner do perform this Service: And the Serjeant at Arms attending this House is to see it done accordingly."

Those Writings were:

An Act of the Commons, assembled in Parliament, for erecting an High Court of Justice for trying and judging Charles Stuart, (intending thereby that undoubted Saint and Martyr King Charles the First, of ever blessed Memory) being this Day, in part, read; the House expressed their great Indignation against, and Detestation of it; and of the horrid Consequences that ensued thereupon…

An Act declaring and constituting the People of England to be a Commonwealth, or free State…

An Act for subscribing the Engagement…

An Act for renouncing and disannulling the pretended Title of Charles Stuart, &c.;…

An Act for the Security of his Highness the Lord Protector his Person, and Continuance of the Nation in Peace and Safety…

Bill  •  Link

On the first day of this diary: "My own private condition very handsome, and esteemed rich, but indeed very poor; besides my goods of my house, and my office, which at present is somewhat uncertain."

17 months later SP is worth 500 pounds and argues with a Commissioner of the Navy, an Admiral, about who should captain a particular ship. Our man has come up in the world very fast and, it seems, will continue to rise.

Bill  •  Link

MASTER [of a ship] is a chief Officer whose Business is to have the chief Management of a Ship at Sea, to take her Way, and to give the necessary Orders to the Sailors.

CAPTAIN, a Head-Officer of a Troop of Horse, or a Company of Foot, or of a Ship of War.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Meanwhile, in Edinburgh, the royalists implement another expression of the change of power:

When Charles II came to power in England in 1660, he at once arranged for the arrest of Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquess and 8th Earl of Argyll for collaborating with the Commonwealth.

Argyll was sentenced to death, his execution by beheading on the 'Maiden' taking place on 27 May 1661, before the death warrant had even been signed by the king.…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... but I have got of him leave to have a little room from his lodgings to my house, of which I am very glad, ..."

Oh to have a map! On one side of Pepys' abode were Sir William and Lady Batten, and on the other the troublesome "Lady" Turner and her brood.

Slingsby is the landlord, so maybe he has wrangled a room from either the Battens or the Turners for Pepys, and we are just dealing with Pepys making an obscure entry? Hopefully it will become clear in time.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

OOooooppps -- that should be "Lady" Davis, not Turner!
And I had forgotten
"Good hopes given me to-day that Mrs. Davis is going away from us, her husband going shortly to Ireland." --

Which means that Col. Slingsby may well have moved in next door, and will give up a bedroom to Pepys (for Hewer, or the female servants?). In which case, why would he need Pepys to "... open him a way to get lodgings himself in the office, ..."?

Todd Bernhardt suggested this means finding a place for a desk in he office, but 'lodgings' means somewhere to live.

Hopefully it will become clear in time.

徽柔  •  Link

"I went with the Comptroller to the Coffee house" I am not sure of the price of coffee at that time. Surely it should be expensive since coffee beans were imported?
The first coffee house in London was opened in 1652.
In 1672, Charles II proclaimed “Restrain the Spreading of False News, and Licentious Talking of Matters of State and Government,” which stated: “Men have assumed to themselves a liberty, not only in Coffee-houses, but in other Places and Meetings, both public and private, to censure and defame the proceedings of State by speaking evil of things they understand not.”

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