Wednesday 14 August 1661

This morning Sir W. Batten and Sir W. Pen and I waited upon the Duke of York in his chamber, to give him an account of the condition of the Navy for lack of money, and how our own very bills are offered upon the Exchange, to be sold at 20 in the 100 loss. He is much troubled at it, and will speak to the King and Council of it this morning.

So I went to my Lady’s and dined with her, and found my Lord Hinchingbroke somewhat better.

After dinner Captain Ferrers and I to the Theatre, and there saw “The Alchymist;” and there I saw Sir W. Pen, who took us when the play was done and carried the Captain to Paul’s and set him down, and me home with him, and he and I to the Dolphin, but not finding Sir W. Batten there, we went and carried a bottle of wine to his house, and there sat a while and talked, and so home to bed.

At home I found a letter from Mr. Creed of the 15th of July last, that tells me that my Lord is rid of his pain (which was wind got into the muscles of his right side) and his feaver, and is now in hopes to go aboard in a day or two, which do give me mighty great comfort.

24 Annotations

First Reading

dirk  •  Link

Evelyn's diary for today:

":To Lond: Experiments concerning compression of Water, a letter and a certaine uncombustible Wood was sent the Society from the famous Adeptus Signor Borrhi: This day Sir Kenh[e]lme Digby presented every one of us his discourse of the Vegetation of Plants: And Mr. Henshaw his history of Salt-peter & Gun-powder. I then assisted him to procure his place of French Secretary to the King, which he purchased of Sir Hen: de Vic: I went to that famous Physitian Sir Fr: Prujean who shewed me his Laboratorie, his other workhouse for turning & other Mechanics, also many excellent Pictures, especialy the Magdalen of Carrachio: some incomparable "paisages" don in distemper: He plaied to me likewise on the Polyphone, an Instrument having something of the Harp, Lute, Theorb &c: it was a sweete Instrument, by none known in England, or described by any Author, nor used but by this skillfull & learned Doctor: I returnd home:"

dirk  •  Link

"the condition of the Navy for lack of money, and how our own very bills are offered upon the Exchange, to be sold at 20 in the 100 loss"

Cfr. Sam's entry for 11 June:
"the credit of the office is brought so low, that none will sell us any thing without our personal security given for the same"

Apparently Sam's superiors are slow to react to the navy's financial problems - deliberately slow?

dirk  •  Link

The Alchymist

Sam saw The Alchymist - "a most incomparable play" by Ben Jonson - before, on 22 June. He seems to really like it very much.

Bradford  •  Link

"pain (which was wind got into the muscles of his right side)"

Does this translate as "gas" or "transient intestinal inflammation"?

Josh  •  Link

My Lord "is now in hopes to go aboard in a day or two":

Though this makes sense as it is, one might think it a misreading for "abroad"; but this is how it appears in Latham's "Shorter Pepys."

Eric Walla  •  Link

I think "aboard" makes good sense ...

... in that he fell ill, the vessel put into port and he has probably been treated off ship. IMO "abroad" sounds like he would be leaving his native country rather than continuing his journey.

vicente  •  Link

Abroad means away from whence one is at. There: he is up, once more at his tasks, back to normal routine.
Wind: I do take for meaning a draugh [draft {Usa}][blast of of b***** cold aire only found in old houses in UK] of wind that one would get from sitting in a chair and a draugh would come thru a crack under the door and give one a stiff neck.

Mary House  •  Link

Glad to see Capt Ferrers out and about after his leap out the window.

vicente  •  Link

The Alchymist:…

Mr. Henshaw his history of Salt-peter & Gun-powder
for those looking 'ow to turn lead into gold {steal it from the church roofs and sell same to the merchants no questions asked?}
ARTICLE - Dickson, Donald R. Thomas Henshaw and Sir Robert Paston's pursuit of the Red elixir: An early collaboration between fellows of the Royal Society. Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 51 (1), 1997, p57-76.……
Athanasius Kircher's Table of alchemical equipment and operations , The three alchemical flasks of Oldfield , Colours to be observed in the Operation of the Great Work , The Six Keys of Eudoxus , Phantom alchemical plants of Quersitanus , Basil Valentine's Triumphal Chariot of Antimony , The Aphorisms of Urbigerus , Circulatum Minus of Urbigerus , Frontispiece to Urbigerus , John French The Art of Distillation , Francis Bacon - Experiments touching Sulphur and Mercury , Francis Bacon - The Making of Gold , Joannes Agricola A Treatise on Gold , Concerning the Material of the Stone - Ms. l'Arsenal 3027

vicente  •  Link

"...and how our own very bills are offered upon the Exchange, to be sold at 20 in the 100 loss...." Interesting way of getting Money. One of the first companies that I worked for in the US of A, did a very similar trade. Sold and billed Government for goods shipped, then went to the bank and sold the Accounts receivable [backed by USA Government dept][ I believe it was 8% vigorish.], So that the Co. could pay its creditors and Employees their just requirements.

vicente  •  Link

"...At home I found a letter from Mr. Creed of the 15th of July last..." This being the 14th aug: Not bad.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

I think Vincent might have the right diagnosis; it looks like a muscular spasm; it wont explain the "feaver"though,but then they didn't have themometers at the time.

Mary  •  Link


L&M full version of the diary also reads 'aboard'. No need to look for any alternative reading.

Australian Susan  •  Link

In those days, and for many a year after, "fever" was seen as a disease in its own right (hospitals were set up in the 19thc specifically as Fever Hospitals.) Nowadays we see a high temperature as a symptom. My take on this is that what was perceived as being wrong with Lord Sandwich was twofold: a fever and a muscular spasm, whereas what seems more likely to me is he had an infection somewhere in the instestines,(cf. Bradford) which caused him to have pain in the right side and a consequent high temperature.

George  •  Link

Lord Sandwich had been dispatched to take possession of Tangier which is at the entrance ot the Med. If he was sick of a fever in Alecante, had he dropped off the troops and gone on to the nearest friendly port?

JWB  •  Link

So Mr. Creed sailed with Montagu even after the disparagement. While back I read Creed a part of the extended Montagu family-an in-law. All so Mafioso.

JWB  •  Link

Navy bills discounted
These are deflationary times, caused not by surfeit of production, but by the withdrawal of currency from circulation. People are hoarding. Debts under Commonwealth are being denied. Macauley writes:"At the same time a sudden fall of rents took place. The income of every landed proprietor was diminished by five shillings in the pound." Discount on land about same as discount gov't paper. Alchymical dreams must have been on many minds; and, presto change-o, they'll be changing paper, not lead, into gold in short order.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"our own bills ... to be sold at 20 in the 100 loss"
Building on JWB's comment, the issue isn't simply deflation, but *credit risk.* Sovereigns frequently repudiated their debts (the Spanish Hapsburgs went bust), leaving paper worthless.
There is no Bank of England.
There is no monetary policy.
There is no sound currency other than tangibles (gold, silver) based on scarcity.
There is only a fragmentary and highly imperfect money economy.
There is no judicial forum to enforce debts against the sovereign.

Given the preceding, would *you* buy paper from the Duke of York ???

vicente  •  Link

David: perfect: so many literally lost their shirts, banking the King and allies. Penn state is one such a result, for the more influential ones. Many others were not so lucky.
Investments were many, but the Risks were totally unpredictable. look up the bankers already mentioned and see their stories.

Second Reading

Kyle in San Diego  •  Link

Can anyone translate these numbers into modern terms that are understandable
how our own very bills are offered upon the Exchange, to be sold at 20 in the 100 loss.

Kyle in San Diego  •  Link

As always I appreciate you taking the time to help me out.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

For a picture of a Pepys' era Bill of Exchange, and information about how they are used, see…

HOWEVER, I am not sure that a Bill sold upon the Exchange is the same thing, the Exchange being a place in this case. I read this as being a Promissory Note, held up for auction.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"[The Duke of York] is much troubled at it, and will speak to the King and Council of it this morning."

L&M: Presumably a committee meeting: the Council itself did not meet this day. A statement of the navy debts at the end of this year revealed a deficit of £374,000:…

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