Friday 8 November 1661

This morning up early, and to my Lord Chancellor’s with a letter to him from my Lord, and did speak with him; and he did ask me whether I was son to Mr. Talbot Pepys or no (with whom he was once acquainted in the Court of Requests), and spoke to me with great respect. Thence to Westminster Hall (it being Term time) and there met with Commissioner Pett, and so at noon he and I by appointment to the Sun in New Fish Street, where Sir J. Minnes, Sir W. Batten, and we all were to dine, at an invitation of Captain Stoaks and Captain Clerk, and were very merry, and by discourse I found Sir J. Minnes a fine gentleman and a very good scholler.

After dinner to the Wardrobe, and thence to Dr. Williams, who went with me (the first time that he has been abroad a great while) to the Six Clerks Office to find me a clerk there able to advise me in my business with Tom Trice, and after I had heard them talk, and had given me some comfort, I went to my brother Tom’s, and took him with me to my coz. Turner at the Temple, and had his opinion that I should not pay more than the principal 200l, with which I was much pleased, and so home.

20 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

First...Dammit, Sam. How the hell is Bess?

I notice Sam seems to be spending more time with brother Tom these days...Instructing and encouraging his shy and awkward brother in business and the ways of the world or does he rely more on him than we realize from the entries to date?

RexLeo  •  Link

"...I should not pay more than the principal 200l., with which I was much pleased, and so home."

I suppose this is the settlement of account against all claims of his aunt and coz. Is he happy that he does not have to pay interest on that amount since it was promised at the time of marriage to his aunt by his uncle? Any idea on the prevalent interest rate at that time was?

dirk  •  Link

interest rate
Figure 1.2 indicates British interest rates around 8% and falling in the mid 1600's.

A very interesting article by the way - for those who are somewhat familiar with this kind of stuff. Copyright 2002.

Pedro.  •  Link

spending more time with brother Tom these days.

Is Sam more interested, at the moment, as he is looking for prospective marriage candidates for his brother?

Mary  •  Link

Tom's marriage prospects.

Though not looking good at present, may be helped, even if by only a little, by a successful outcome to the negotiations around Uncle Robert's will. On the other hand, perhaps Tom has been setting too much store by the thought of family inheritance and Sam needs to show him that the considerable sum of £200 will still need to be paid to the widow, even if the interest is not exacted.

David Cooper  •  Link

"he and I by appointment to the Sun in New Fish Street, where Sir J. Minnes, Sir W. Batten, and we all were to dine, at an invitation of Captain Stoaks and Captain Clerk" How did Sam make all these arrangements? No e-mail or telephone. Does he have a secretary and a messenger service? I recall reading somewhere that the seventeenth century saw the emergence of good business systems. Accounting practices were described in Italy in the Renaissance. But how exactly did it work in detail?

Mary  •  Link

How did Sam make all these arrangements?

Sam, like other men, had a footboy (Wayneman) to run messages and also a clerk (Will) to take care of many arangements for him. Women could send their maids on similar errands and boys could also be hired on an ad hoc basis (at inns, for example)for the same purpose. London, though populous, was not a large, sprawling city and a messenger system of communication could work pretty well.

Second Reading

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

"I found Sir J. Minnes a fine gentleman and a very good scholler."

I wonder whether this is the first recorded instance of the term "a gentleman and a scholar" being used as a complement? :)

Bill  •  Link

Sasha, a good question. But it seems not to be so.
Pieboard: Troth, and for mine own part, I am a poor gentleman and a scholar...

From: The puritaine: or, The widow of Watling Street

From Wikipedia: The Puritan, or the Widow of Watling Street, also known as The Puritan Widow, is an anonymous Jacobean stage comedy, first published in 1607. It is often attributed to Thomas Middleton, but also belongs to the Shakespeare Apocrypha due to its title page attribution to "W.S.".

Bill  •  Link

Update: The comments of 8 January 1661 suggest Middleton wrote 2 plays with the word "widow" in the title and that the play I've indicated is the other one...

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

"Gentleman and a scholar"

AFAIK in those days in general a gentleman was a man who had an independent income and didn't work for wages, it was a description of a member of a social class (a class in which most members had to find activities to occupy their extensive leisure time).

I suspect that a scholar, in the context of the diary, would be an educated person who persisted in acquiring knowledge, much as we would understand it today.

Today, in my experience, a gentleman would be a man who exhibits good manners, that is, defined by those traits and not class.

I think that in Sam's day in most cases a scholar would of necessity be gentleman since, to the best of my knowledge, only men of the gentleman class could obtain an education.

Any thoughts on which interpretation Sam was using?

Bill  •  Link

If Adam should refuse to dig, and now
If Gentry hold it scorn to hold the plow,
If Eve should gad abroad and leave the Spindle,
If Ladies do refuse to use the Thimble,
Sure, then that question would not be your notes
Amongst us all sure none would bear good Coats,
For it is industry that gains us Riches,
And Riches gains us Honour, Coat and Briches
Virtue and Learning, and honest Parents, can,
With Spade and Spindle, make a Gentleman.
---The Sphere of Gentry. Sylvanus Morgan, 1661.

Edith Lank  •  Link

Not for the first time I've longed to give Sam Pepys a cell phone.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

"scholler" A most unusual spelling! I wonder how a curious spelling (such as this) is worked out via SP's shorthand?

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

A ‘gent’ nowadays is recognised by his accent - well-spoken - and his manners - polite and often formal. He has usually has had a private education and he may - or may not - have money.

The OED has:

‘ . . 3. a. A man in whom gentle birth is accompanied by appropriate qualities and behaviour; hence, in general, a man of chivalrous instincts and fine feelings . .
1653 I. Walton Compl. Angler i. 13, I would rather prove my self to be a Gentleman, by being learned and humble, valiant and inoffensive, vertuous, and communicable, then by a fond ostentation of riches.
1710 R. Steele Tatler No. 207. ⁋4 The Appellation of Gentleman is never to be affixed to a Man's Circumstances, but to his Behaviour in them.
1743 N. Appleton Serm. 153 The Gentle-Man will treat every Man with due Respect, and will be friendly, yielding, condescending, obliging, and ready to do a Kindness . . ‘

which I take to be SP’s sense here.

The question still unanswered is:

‘When Adam delved and Eve span, Who was then the gentleman? . . ’
John Ball 1381

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

'scholar, n. Forms: OE scolere, scoliere, ME–16 scholer, ME scolere, ME–15 scoler, ME scolare, skolere, scolier, (Caxton escolyer), ME–15 scolar, ME–16 scoller, 15 scolear, scoleir, scollar, skoller, skolar, 15–16 scholler, schollar, schooler, 16 schoolar, skooller, skollar, ( sholar), 15–18 vulgar schollard, 18 scholard, 15– scholar.'

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.