Thursday 13 June 1661

I went up and down to Alderman Backwell’s, but his servants not being up, I went home and put on my gray cloth suit and faced white coat, made of one of my wife’s pettycoates, the first time I have had it on, and so in a riding garb back again and spoke with Mr. Shaw at the Alderman’s, who offers me 300l. if my Lord pleases to buy this cloth with, which pleased me well. So to the Wardrobe and got my Lord to order Mr. Creed to imprest so much upon me to be paid by Alderman Backwell.

So with my Lord to Whitehall by water, and he having taken leave of the King, comes to us at his lodgings and from thence goes to the garden stairs and there takes barge, and at the stairs was met by Sir R. Slingsby, who there took his leave of my Lord, and I heard my Lord thank him for his kindness to me, which Sir Robert answered much to my advantage.

I went down with my Lord in the barge to Deptford, and there went on board the Dutch yacht and staid there a good while, W. Howe not being come with my Lord’s things, which made my Lord very angry. By and by he comes and so we set sayle, and anon went to dinner, my Lord and we very merry; and after dinner I went down below and there sang, and took leave of W. Howe, Captain Rolt, and the rest of my friends, then went up and took leave of my Lord, who give me his hand and parted with great respect.

So went and Captain Ferrers with me into our wherry, and my Lord did give five guns, all they had charged, which was the greatest respect my Lord could do me, and of which I was not a little proud. So with a sad and merry heart I left them sailing pleasantly from Erith, hoping to be in the Downs tomorrow early.

We toward London in our boat. Pulled off our stockings and bathed our legs a great while in the river, which I had not done some years before.

By and by we come to Greenwich, and thinking to have gone on the King’s yacht, the King was in her, so we passed by, and at Woolwich went on shore, in the company of Captain Poole of Jamaica and young Mr. Kennersley, and many others, and so to the tavern where we drank a great deal both wine and beer. So we parted hence and went home with Mr. Falconer, who did give us cherrys and good wine. So to boat, and young Poole took us on board the Charity and gave us wine there, with which I had full enough, and so to our wherry again, and there fell asleep till I came almost to the Tower, and there the Captain and I parted, and I home and with wine enough in my head, went to bed.

34 Annotations

First Reading

Mary  •  Link

"cherries and good wine"

Ah, Kentish cherries? Until about 40 years ago Kent was renowned for its beautiful cherry-orchards and excellent fruit. No longer. Picking is too expensive, and HSE regulations about the use of long ladders make the picking too difficult. It's rarely that you find Kentish White Hearts for sale any longer.

Hic Retearius  •  Link

Sic transit gloria cerasi Cantii!

Australian Susan  •  Link

Kent Cherries
When we lived in Kent in the 80s, I recall the farmer's wife who lived next door to us haranguing the fruit and veg. manager at the local Sainsburys because he was selling American cherries! He actually had no control over the supplies he received, it all being done centrally. The village where I lived had quite a few cherry orchards (and a great deal of other fruit and veg.) and employed local women, and a lot of itinerant gypsies, to do the picking. The cherries were all very small scale production, though and the fruit was sold in local markets.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Just a thought.
He doesn't mention it, but I bet Sam and his friends went in for cherry stone spitting competitions. Especially after all that wine.

Mary  •  Link

"one of my wife's pettycoats".

One hopes that this was not a garment of which Elizabeth had been particularly fond.

Just a reminder: a petticoat at this time was not a hidden undergarment, but the 'show' underskirt of everyday dress.

E  •  Link

One hopes...
Perhaps it was a more puritanical plain grey skirt that she was glad to be rid of as the Restoration fashion flowered in bright colours.

E  •  Link

Acting as an agent
I have been viewing Pepys taking his cut of money as being of dubious morality by modern standards, but there is a possible alternative view that he was simply acting quite publicly as an agent and that he deserved to be paid. This sounds good money for not much work -- not unknown of modern agents -- but you pay also for the expertise and contacts that the agent has built up.
This entry sounds as though his judgement might be swayed by the money, against the interests of his employer, but to be fair he makes no hint of having deliberately gathered rival bids.

Kent Kelly  •  Link

What finally struck me is Lord Mountagu's people/managerial skills. In addition to the basics of communication, trust, and respect, he adds very public displays. I doubt he's buying Sam's loyalty but, more likely, ensuring that Sam gives it more willingly. (Maybe some five-gun salutes for my troops? Hmnmnmnm)

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

A wherry was (is) a rather flat workboat with one mast, In Sam's day probably rigged with a square sail, later with for-and-aft rigging. See: http://www.wherrytrust.freeserve.…

Mary  •  Link

a five-gun salute.

According to an L&M footnote, Pepys, as a 'gentleman of quality' was entitled to a seven-gun salute; however, he sounds pretty happy with his cut-price five.

serafina  •  Link

What a lot Sam can pack into a day. Up earlier than Backwell's servants, up and down the river with all kinds of stops along the way, drinking wine and making merry to boot. I have this vision of everyone in the 17th century going around totally befuddled most of the time! He never mentions how long he sleeps. Do you suppose they got the required 8 hours or less?

David A. Smith  •  Link

"Pulled off our stockings and bathed our legs a great while in the river"
Why we like Pepys, Part XXXVIII:

He's a natural writer with an instinct for the telling visual detail. One throwaway line and this brief travel-time interlude comes fully to life.

vicente  •  Link

He answered Helens question. Good old english wool cloth. I trust that he used the brass bowls for ringing the changes.[dooinggg]

Katherine  •  Link

Pepys and the Five Gun Salute.

As Mary noted, Sam was entitled to a Seven Gun salute, but of course he was happy with his "cut-price five" because it's the thought that counts.

The genuine affection and respect "My Lord" shows in making the gesture more than makes up for the lack of 2 guns.

helena murphy  •  Link

"The mezzar-ifoullousen-a violent and cold southwesterly known to Berbers as "that which plucks the fowls".

Ondaatje,Michael," The English Patient"

In Lybia, a long,undyed ,cloak like woollen garment is still commonly worn to fend off the above southwesterly. When it is winter in North Africa , no winds are as treacherous as those which blow up from the Sahara,it is freezing by day and freezing by night, and the sunlight is deceptive.

Glyn  •  Link

Serafina's query is a good one - just how early would Sam have had to get up in order to make a journey and still be up before Backwell's servants were awake? I'm guessing about 5 a.m., (it's almost the longest day of the year - 18 hours of sunshine) so he probably didn't get much sleep on this occasion. I suppose having to share a bed with a colleague made you more willing to get up and to work.

Australian Susan  •  Link

The five gun salute
Sam makes the point that he only got a five gun salute because they only had five guns charged(how did he know?) - so one draws the inference that if they had had more guns charged, he would have got his full entitlement.

meersan  •  Link

"my Lord did give five guns, all they had charged"

This leads me to believe Pepys received a five-gun salute only because there were no more guns to be had. The others were not "charged" (loaded with gunpowder and such). Pepys would be aware he is entitled to 7, and possibly included the comment about charging as a parenthetical explanation.

Rick Ansell  •  Link

A correction to Wims post: The Wherry referred to here is not the Norfolk Wherry – a cargo carrying craft descended from the Keel. It was the Thames Wherry – a fast rowing boat for the transport of passengers, the Water Taxi of the era.

The top picture shows Wherrys and, I think, a Shallop (featured on the rest of the page)


I _think_ that the Shallop is similar to what Pepys describes as a 'Barge'.

A little about the Watermen etc.…

'Wherry' actually means 'Boat' so we also have Tyne and other types of Wherry.

[First link changed from and second to the version, 2 April 2014. P.G.]

Rick Ansell  •  Link

On consideration, whilst the Navy Offices 'Barge'[1] may have been a Shallop Mountagu’s 'Barge', at least in this case, is likely to have been his 'Admirals Barge', a much more solid and deep-swimming craft intended for use at sea and which formed part of his flagships complement of boats (note that it doesn't return up river).. Based on later practice would have been primarily rowed but would carry masts and sails that could be erected when needed.

These boats were around 30ft long and had ten or more oars, although, depending on need, not all might be used. Later on the sailing rig could be quite elaborate, running to two (or even three) masts with a bowsprit, jibs and topsails but at this stage two masts carrying lug sails would be most likely.

[1] In Naval terms a 'Barge' was/is both a size of craft and and a term for any boat intended for the conveyance of senior officers. It should not be confused with the later Thames Sailing Barge, a mid-size trading craft or indeed the numerous other types of barge .

Australian Susan  •  Link

Thanks, Rick, lovely pictures and good information!

language hat  •  Link

"So with a sad and merry heart I left them"

I'm surprised nobody has remarked on this. "Sad," of course, is not used in its current sense; it originally meant 'full' and here is somewhere between that and 'serious.'

dirk  •  Link


Some other "strange" meanings of the word:

\Sad\ [Old Engl. sad = sated, tired, satisfied, firm, steadfast, Anglsax. s[ae]d = satisfied, sated;
Akin to Dutch zat, German satt, Latin sat, satis, enough, satur sated], (...)

1. Sated; satisfied; weary; tired. [Obs.]
"Yet of that art they can not waxen sad, For unto them it is a bitter sweet." --Chaucer.

2. Heavy; weighty; ponderous; close; hard. [Obs., except in a few phrases; as, sad bread.]
"His hand, more sad than lump of lead." --Spenser.
"Chalky lands are naturally cold and sad." --Mortimer.

4. Serious; grave; sober; steadfast; not light or frivolous. [Obs.] "Ripe and sad courage." --Chaucer.
"Lady Catharine, a sad and religious woman." --Bacon.
"Which treaty was wisely handled by sad and discrete counsel of both parties." --Ld. Berners.

7. Bad; naughty; troublesome; wicked. [Colloq.]
"Sad tipsy fellows, both of them." --I. Taylor.

Source: (abridged from) Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary

vicente  •  Link

"...When it is winter in North Africa , no winds are as treacherous as those which blow up from the Sahara,it is freezing by day and freezing by night, and the sunlight is deceptive...." any one who has served or traveled in that neck of the woods can a test to that. Especially if you left ones winter gear in Blighty.

Pauline  •  Link

"... Mr. Shaw at the Alderman’s, who offers me 300l. if my Lord pleases to buy this cloth with, which pleased me well. So to the Wardrobe and got my Lord to order Mr. Creed to imprest so much upon me to be paid by Alderman Backwell...."

I'm lost. Does this means that Shaw agrees to lend the 300L and Creed writes up the IOU directly to Sam?

Vincent, ("He answered Helens question. Good old english wool cloth. I trust that he used the brass bowls for ringing the changes.[dooinggg]"), where does he answer that it is wool?

Hic Retearius  •  Link

Wherry link.

Great link, Rick, tnx. What exquisite, fine lines. No wonder the design lasted a thousand years. With five or six men pulling, she would have skimmed along at speed. Taking that figure of 42 feet, and making an assumption or two, her hull speed would be at least 8.6 knots. The theoretical maximum with such fine lines might exceed 11 knots! It is not out of the question that six hearty, experienced oarsmen could pull her at 10 knots for short periods. Perhaps when nipping directly across the river they would do just that to impress the toffs with a view to receiving their further custom.


To avoid confusion in other reading: later practice would term any boat that an admiral deigned to descend into his “barge”. Presumably the vast dignity of an admiral could tolerate no lesser term even if he were to arrive somewhere in a dinghy.

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

'Sad' was used as a description of the colours favoured by Puritans, and meant in that context 'sober'.

vicente  •  Link

"..where does he answer that it is wool?..." there is clothe moth that doth love wool, fur,or feathers so ASSUME got me that, fur of rabbit not too popular. Then I checked the 1600's dictionary which has only unusual words [no clothe]. The dict:which is interesting then I found this:
could be linnen cloth.
found this :" to make yarn and linnen clothe white
Take a herring barrell, and fill it nigh full of good Ale dregs, and step it salt, let you must hab[v]e a good dish full of parched beans, and put them in a linnen ka[e]g, and b[v]ery hot put them to the dregs f[st]ill they coele, and shut it fast the space of a quarter of an houre, then take two pounds of Allom grownd to small powder, and cast it inereen , and let it lie foure hares[houres] naturall well closed, and then wast[e] your yarne.
from the booke of Pretty Conceits: printed by James Fletcher" copied from…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Considering Serafina's comment...Sam frequently is up at 4 am and off to work and to bed at midnight or later. Not to mention those lovely mornings he spends (less frequently it seems these days) with Elisabeth with much pleasure and yet still manages to be off betimes.

It's not that unusual...I get up at 4:30 and often to bed by midnight or one...(And have only passed out on the road once or twice...) and my brother and father follow similar schedules. Of course Sam could sleep in the boat during his rides up and down the Thames.

vicente  •  Link

Sam should be grateful it was not Three bangs, meaning it was burial time. [from Seamans grammar]

Second Reading

Al Doman  •  Link

Bookkeeping - the link to "the King" in today's entry is pointing to William III. Should it not point to Charles II?

Phil Gyford  •  Link

How odd, yes you're right; now fixed.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

M. Fresendorff to Sandwich

Written from: London

Date: 13 June 1661

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 73, fol(s). 519

Document type: Original; subscribed and signed, with a P.S. in the writer's autograph. With a seal of arms.

Congratulates his Lordship on his solemn embassy to Portugal. Solicits permission for a cousin of his own who has travelled much, and has fitted himself for public employment, to wait upon him in that embassy.

Subscribed and signed; with a P.S. in the writer's autograph.…

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Today, 13 June 1661 Sandwich left to for Tangier, and bring back Queen Catherine.

He wrote:
"I took a barge at Privy Stairs at Whitehall and boarded the Mary yacht at Deptford about 12 o'clock and so sailed for the Downs, where I arrived on board the Royal James on Friday in the evening."

Sandwich Journal (Anderson)

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