Sunday 16 June 1661

(Lord’s day). But no purser coming in the morning for them, and I hear that the Duke went last night, and so I am at a great loss what to do; and so this day (though the Lord’s day) staid at home, sending Will up and down to know what to do. Sometimes thinking to continue my resolution of sending by the carrier to be at Deal on Wednesday next, sometimes to send them by sea by a vessel on purpose, but am not yet come to a resolution, but am at a very great loss and trouble in mind what in the world to do herein. The afternoon (while Will was abroad) I spent in reading “The Spanish Gypsey,” a play not very good, though commended much. At night resolved to hire a Margate Hoy, who would go away to-morrow morning, which I did, and sent the things all by him, and put them on board about 12 this night, hoping to have them as the wind now serves in the Downs to-morrow night.

To-bed with some quiet of mind, having sent the things away.

31 Annotations

First Reading

dirk  •  Link

"The Spanish Gypsey"

For The Spanish Gypsy (9 Jul 1623), Middleton teamed with Rowley, his old partner Dekker, and Dekker's new partner John Ford; performed at the Phoenix, and also at court (Nov 5, for Prince Charles), the play was so popular that it provoked contempt-or envy-for its “Gipsie Iigges” and “other Trumpery”

Published 1653 (Stationers’ Register, June 28, 1624).

Main source:…

For an overview of Middleton’s plays - and the texts (incomplete as yet) see:…

vicente  •  Link

Sam reminds me of the many times when I had to get an important package to some remote part of the globe and THE anxiety that goes with it. He does not speak of the night mares, that go with it, when there is so much responsibilities and he does not have full control over the situation. So ahoy there and get special delivery and pay the freight.[not unlike a first class ticket for a package to Timbucto].

Pedro.  •  Link

"..sending Will up and down to know what to do."

First mention of Will for some time. Keeping his head down and not going abroad lately?

Jim  •  Link

If this were an advertising supported site, this would be a great spot to sell an advertisement for FedEx or UPS or another one of those express delivery companies. Things are a lot easier for us than for poor Sam -- although nothing is perfect (picturing poor Tom Hanks stranded on that island with "Wilson").

Brian Barr  •  Link

So is a "Hoy" (sailing vessel) the origin of the nautical greeting "ahoy"?

Glyn  •  Link

If Sam has missed the boat, then it is his own fault. The captain must have decided to sail on an earlier tide, and wasn't going to delay just for him so Sam is 12 hours behind the action and he should have allowed for that possibility.

It's interesting that he couldn't do much while Will was on his errands; presumably to find ships to take the cargo, I think it's a sign of Sam's growing trust in Will's responsibility that he assigned this task to Will rather than doing it himself.

Although Pepys didn't like "The Spanish Gypsy" that doesn't mean that he wouldn't have liked it on a less fraught occasion, and presumably he thought it sufficiently interesting to buy his own copy of it.

Hic Retearius  •  Link



ahoy..., int. Naut.
[a int. + hoy.]
A. int. A nautical call used in hailing.
[citations, 1751, 1828 and 1873]
B. as v. To call ahoy. (Cf. to hurrah, halloo.)
[citation 1881]

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

When telephones were first invented, the recommended way of answering the telephone was to say 'Ahoy!'

Fans of the Simpsons may observe Montgomery Burns using this method in at least one episode.

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

'The Spanish Gypsy'
Reading a play does not beat seeing it performed. It can be very dull on paper and exhilarating on the stage. So we wonder if Sam saw it at a time.
According to Warrington the play had been printed again in 1661. Sam maybe got it fresh from the press.

tld  •  Link

Sam is very nervious about the shipment delay.
Just few days ago, he was basking with Sandwich on the barge/yacht before Sandwhich departed and he observed, "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.”
Maybe a little smug that he was considered closer and more trusted than the unfortunate W. Howe at the time. And relieved that he wasn’t in line of the wrath back then.
Now he has delayed the shipment expected by Lord Sandwich and is pointedly nervous that it isn’t happening fast enough.
Wonder if he has more empathy for poor Howe at this point?
I think I’ve lived this situation more than a couple of times myself and do have empathy for poor Sam’s performance angst.

dirk  •  Link


I remember reading quite some time ago that "ahoy" was derived from the French "a l’oeuil” (“to the eye” i.e. in sight) - I can’t trace back where I read it though. However this would be in line with common derivations like “OK” from “au quay” (“on the quay” = ready for shipment), and “hello” (see infra). Some of these derivations are possibly dubious, but remember French was a shipping language too at some time in history (in the Mediterranian)…

On “hello”:
“‘hello’ didn’t become a truly common greeting until the mid 1860s. It comes from ‘holla!’, stop! (French ho! + la, there); it had been used as a shout to attract attention, hail a coach, ferry, etc.” Page 184. From I Hear America Talking, by Stuart Berg Flexner, Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1976.”…

Jesse  •  Link

"At night resolved to hire a Margate Hoy"

After being "at a very great loss and trouble in mind" I wonder how Sam came to this decision? Methodically listing the options w/their pros and cons, going on a gut feeling, advice relayed from Will?

vicente  •  Link

"a hoy" why not from the French "ois eau" saxonated,[oi yu] as the ship is being defleeced by the Dunkerque mob, when they were unfriendly and loved being Pirates. Just a tort. Normal french, oiseau-unemployed- yob.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"resolved to hire a Margate Hoy"
Sam blew it, and is eating the cost.
Glyn is right -- the boat sails on the tide and wind, and these are fickle enough that Sam should have made allowances. His entry shows that:

First he suffered anxiety (did I miss it?)
Then panicked recriminations (now what do I do?)
Then realization that at some cost he could fix it (hire a hoy!)
Then, and only then, a little relief
"with some quiet of mind, having sent the things away."
He's done all he can, and he's hoping it's fixed.

john lauer  •  Link

hello [alter. of hollo] (1889*) -Webster
*"earliest recorded use in English"
The tele': patents 1876,7.

We might question "hello" being "a truly common greeting [in] the mid 1860s".

vicente  •  Link

Greeting of another ship, From Sams book of Seamans Grammar:
"to hail a ship is to call to her company to Know whither they are bound ,&c. and is done after this manner Hoa the ship! or only Hoa! to which they answer Hae. Also to salute another Ship with Trumpets of the like, is called Hailing."
page 87 Seamans grammar navigation
When a seaman sees land from the Top he Cries " Land to"

then there is "Boy, Holla Master, Holla, is the Kettle boiled,Yea,yea :" that is after you have bashed up the other ship and now is a cleaning up the B****** mess;
the dead get :"for a funeral three guns " after battle.
so it evolves to "ship Ahoy";
Hae in latin is plu. fem. nom.' this' {near me} meaning you mean 'me' 'moi'?
'Hoa' seems similar to the land lubber 'whoa' as the Jack Tar shouting in the wind, loses the the 'wer'

ellen  •  Link

I think AHOY has been sunk in a sea of words today.

Mary  •  Link

Sam's panic.

It's the fact that any deficiencies in provisioning are going to be revealed to the Duke of York (Admiral of the Fleet) rather than just to Sandwich that has Sam in such a tizzy. He doesn't want to embarrass himself, but he certainly doesn't want to embarrass Sandwich in front of the Big Boss.

Hic Retearius  •  Link

Hello, it's 1892, O.E.D.

hello..., int. and n.
[var. of hallo, q.v.]
An exclamation to call attention; also expressing some degree of surprise, as on meeting any one unexpectedly.
A. as int.
a. Also as a greeting.
1883 Breadwinners 241 Hello, Andy! you asleep.[further citations 1888, 1987, 1971]
b. Used as an answer to a telephone call.
1892 Kipling Lett. of Travel (1920) 94 A..millionaire..clawing wildly at the telephone... "Hello!.. Yes. Who's there?" [further citations 1922, 1973...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...sending Will up and down to know what to do..."

I picture the Sirs Will B&P slyly smiling to each other back in the office as Will comes by explaining Sam or Elisabeth is "ill" and by the way do any of you gentlemen know a way to get...

Laura K  •  Link

OK = oll korrect

I'm surprised no one picked up on this. OK doesn't derive from "au quay".

The origin of OK was established in 1963 by a Columbia University professor named Allen Walker Read. Read showed definitively that it entered the language in 1839 and stood for "oll korrect".…


These stories aren't great, but they are accurate. Here's Read's obit in the Guardian.…

dirk  •  Link

Thanks Laura.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"resolved to hire a Margate Hoy, who would go away to-morrow morning, which I did, and sent the things all by him,"

Samuel Pepys to Sandwich
Written from: Navy Office

Date: 16 June 1661

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 73, fol(s). 525

Document type: Holograph

Sends, by a Margate Hoy, purple and scarlet cloths, "all of them as fine and good as can be had for money." Has not ventured to act on his own judgement, without the best mercantile advice...…

eileen d.  •  Link

good heavens! the Bodleian actually has the letter our Sam wrote 'today'? how wonderful... thanks, Terry Foreman!

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Samuel Pepys to Sandwich

Written from: Navy Office

Date: 16 June 1661, 9pm

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 73, fol(s). 523

Document type: Holograph [addressed to the Admiral on board the Royal James, endorsed with dates of transmission]

Reports his service in relation to some supplies for the ships destined for Portugal. Mentions the sailing of the Duke [of York] at an earlier date than he had purposed...…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"At night resolved to hire a Margate Hoy"

The hoy was the Martha and Mary ; the hire-charge (from the Tower Wharf to the Downs) was £6 : PRO, Adm. 20/1/261, no 1623. (L&M note)

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Sandwich's log:

"16th. Sunday. In the evening his Royal Highness came on board the Royal James in the Downs."

Copied from
The Journal of Edward Mountagu,
First Earl of Sandwich
Admiral and General-at-Sea 1659 - 1665

Edited by RC Anderson
Printed for the Navy Records Society

Section III - Mediterranean 1661/62

His Royal Highness = James, Duke of York

Eric the Bish  •  Link

Sam’s original plan (plan A) had been to send the goods by land to Deal for Wednesday; thence to be taken out to the Downs by small boat. The arrival of the Duke’s purser in the evening offers a possibility of an excellent plan B: cheaper, faster and direct delivery. It’s not certain to work but would have been great if it had.

It didn’t. Time and tide - not to mention weather and Dukes - wait for no man: the non arrival of the purser to collect the goods in the morning gives Pepys a lesson in maritime risk management. He’s missed the daytime tide today, so nothing will happen until Monday.

He is now forced to reassess his Plan A; eventually judging the risks too great. Sending by sea buys out at least three risks: his Lord sailing early; mishap on the road to Deal (cart breakdown; theft, fraud); weather on Wednesday turning foul so delivery to the ship cannot take place.

Hence Pepys is willing to take time for some light reading while Will checks on various options … and in the evening Sam selects plan C: the hoy.

His frustration is twofold: his clever plan B did not come off, and his original plan A wasn’t a good one. But plan C seems ok.

LKvM  •  Link

The £6 it cost to transport the cloth from the Tower Wharf to the Downs will definitely eat into Sam's profit.

Tonyel  •  Link

Mentions the sailing of the Duke [of York] at an earlier date than he had purposed...
A none-too subtle rebuke - "If your Lordship had thought about buying cloth a few days earlier, we wouldn't have had all this bother."

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