Tuesday 31 December 1661

My wife and I this morning to the Paynter’s, and there she sat the last time, and I stood by and did tell him some little things to do, that now her picture I think will please me very well; and after her, her little black dogg sat in her lap; and was drawn, which made us very merry; so home to dinner, and so to the office; and there late finishing our estimate of the debts of the Navy to this day; and it come to near 374,000l.

So home, and after supper, and my barber had trimmed me, I sat down to end my journell for this year, and my condition at this time, by God’s blessing, is thus:

My health (only upon catching cold, which brings great pain in my back … [and making of water – L&M] as it used to be when I had the stone) is very good, and so my wife’s in all respects:

My servants, W. Hewer, Sarah, Nell, and Wayneman: my house at the Navy Office. I suppose myself to be worth about 500l. clear in the world, and my goods of my house my own, and what is coming to me from Brampton, when my father dies, which God defer. But, by my uncle’s death, the whole care and trouble of all, and settling of all lies upon me, which is very great, because of law-suits, especially that with T. Trice, about the interest of 200l., which will, I hope, be ended soon.

My chiefest thought is now to get a good wife for Tom, there being one offered by the Joyces, a cozen of theirs, worth 200l. in ready money. I am also upon writing a little treatise to present to the Duke, about our privilege in the seas, as to other nations striking their flags to us. But my greatest trouble is, that I have for this last half year been a very great spendthrift in all manner of respects, that I am afeard to cast up my accounts, though I hope I am worth what I say above. But I will cast them up very shortly

I have newly taken a solemn oath about abstaining from plays and wine, which I am resolved to keep according to the letter of the oath which I keep by me. The fleet hath been ready to sail for Portugall, but hath lacked wind this fortnight, and by that means my Lord is forced to keep at sea all this winter, till he brings home the Queen, which is the expectation of all now, and the greatest matter of publique talk.

31 Annotations

First Reading

Ruben  •  Link

Summing up
Life is good.
And next year will be better! I bet that in a few days we will read about a new play...

language hat  •  Link

"I am afeard to cast up my accounts"

I think we can all relate to that.

Happy New Year, all!

Bullus Hutton  •  Link

"worth about 500l. clear in the world.."
Not bad for a lad who was making an annual 50l. this time last year. Not many could squirrel away 10 years pay in a year of prodigious home improvements, not to mention lavish expenditure of walking-about money!
Would that we all enjoy such fortune in the upcoming New Year!

Lorry  •  Link

Like most of us, Sam has made a New Years resolution to abstain from plays and wine. I wonder if this will be kept-or left by the wayside in the future. Something like quitting smoking. Happy New Year to everyone!

Bradford  •  Link

The little black dog returns!
And a happy new year to you all (Sam has to wait a while, does he not?)

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"taken a solemn oath about abstaining from plays and wine"
that's the puritan in him, I wonder if he is including the morning draft or if he just wants to save some money.
Feliz Ano Novo

daniel  •  Link

"I have newly taken a solemn oath about abstaining from plays and wine, "

Ah, I recall this promise. Good readers, don't expect to much of this resolution, if my memory serves me well. He will return to this admonition time and time again.

All in all, good for you Sam! As his thoughts are filled with hope and promise for a good new year so may all of you fellow readers have a promising and happy 2005!

RexLeo  •  Link

"...that now her picture I think will please me very well;"

A painter who would make his patrons happy - that must be very rare; he must be truly talented.

Happy New Year every body!

Bradford  •  Link

And both his wine and his plays are probably two of the main things most of us would at least like to try, from this period (not forgetting the venison pasties). However, if you share a hankering for heavy sermons, or Privy Sealing, or a Striking History of Striking Sail, do endeavor to reform in the new year.

Sjoerd  •  Link

How difficult to look back on oneself: he managed to put away a small fortune yet thinks his "greatest trouble" is being a spendthrift. We would think maybe his biggest capital is being at the centre of things with people who know what is going on, yet he worries about too much drinking and theatre-going ? That the very journal he is writing will make him stand out from everyone around him: he has no idea !

So... probably best to just enjoy the New Year and we will see what happens ... Best wishes to everyone !

dirk  •  Link

374,000 £

“In 2002, £374000 from 1661 is worth £36,337,932.88 using the retail price index.”

As has been said before, this conversion is a fair approximation - due to the changes in the consumption package between 1661 and the present no simple conversion can be completely accurate. The last year available in the database is 2002, but the difference with 2004 will be negligible.


vicenzo  •  Link

The Debt to merchants and others [tars and their betters, and gang at the Navy Offfice] be 374,000 £ but meanwhile the house of lauds [Domini tam Spiritales quam Temporales] pales in comparison to the gift to his rex just a few days ago, by the H of Lauds.
It was £1,260,000 or £70,000 per month for 18 mths
then Rex gave the royal assent to this Bill [Gift], It was pronounced in these words: “Le Roy, remerciant Ses bons Subjects, accepte leur Benevelnce, et ainsi le veult”
Case of the royal Kitchens vs the Navy needs?

vicenzo  •  Link

"...myself to be worth about 500l. clear in the world, and my goods of my house my own,..." Based on Picard's Restoration London p248 incomes for 1688. By removing Temporal Lords [160], Spiritual Lords[26], 800 Baronets and 600 Knights,and of course Rex. Sam can be counted as wealthy. His net worth in cash is greater than all the other household incomes in the land. Of course Liza Picard did not count in the 'under the counter monies' that keep any good economy in good shape.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

And so we complete two full years with Sam
and among our little virtual community. Huzzah to Phil for conceiving this and keeping it going, and a happy 2005 to all.

Philip  •  Link

A lovely entry for the end of one year and the beginning of the rest of his life and our contemplation of it. Happy 2005 to all of you and to Phil, our host and facilitator.

Brian G McMullen  •  Link

Since the day I read about this site in the Circuits section of the NY Times I have done my best to keep abreast. I resolve in this New Year to do my daily constitutional and my daily read of our man, Pepys.

To Phil, a heartfelt thank you for these daily glimpses into a past world not so different than today.

To all who annotate, a thank you for illuminating Sam's words and, occasionally, for providing a laugh or two.

To everyone, and their special ones, a happy, healthy, and safe New Year's.

wembley  •  Link

Bet the artist really appreciated Sam's instructions - and having to draw the dogg too, as a last minute extra!

Phil, you certainly deserve our thanks, for making Pepys manageable.

A Happy and Peaceful 2005 to all

David A. Smith  •  Link

"upon writing a little treatise to present to the Duke"
Note the enterprise, and his ownership of his organization's problems. And he doesn't fear to present it to the Duke of York (whom we all know not to be the brightest star in the firmament). A most excellent mixture of ambition, foresight, and properly deferential brass.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"great pain in my back . . . as it used to be"
Would someone with access to the complete text advise us on the hidden ellipses? What part of Sam's plumbing problems was excised by the censorious (Victorian) editor?

Naomi  •  Link

"which brings great pain in my back and making of water, as it use to be when I had the stone". Surprisingly "The Illustrated Pepys" selected and edited by Robert Latham, which is only 336 pages long, had the full text for today.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Thanks, Naomi.

The fact that this entry, which nicely sums up 1661 for Sam, is included in "The Illustrated Pepys" doesn't surprise me much ... it's very rich in information. I'd wager that, if Sam's pattern of summing up the year's events continues, each year-end entry is included in its entirety.

JonTom Kittredge  •  Link

Household Help
I'm interested that the Pepys keep only four servants. I may be off base, but I think that, in Victorian times, four would have been a pretty shabby number for someone in SP's position. My impression is that an upper middle class household would want at least a cook, kitchen maid, house maid, parlour maid, laundress, and footman to feel respectable, leaving aside butler, valet and lady's maid.

My reading is that Elizabeth does much more housework than would be considered lady-like a couple of centuries later. We know she takes a part in the laundry and it seems like she takes a lead in the cooking, too, with the help of a maid.

I hope that someone with a surer grounding in English social history will tell us if I'm mistaken. If I'm not, then this is an indication of another way in which the class boundaries shifted over the following centuries.

vicenzo  •  Link

household help: now not really needed, there being auto this, auto that, every one of those labour saving devices represented some poor soul not going to school in the old days now must attend lectures in order to becomeing a chief Exercuter. In England the household staff died out, many of the betters had to do the own bottelling as the help wanted more freedoms and money and to use the skills discouvered fighting THE War.
As Adam Smith did point out to sustain a working community you needed a) food [big mac], 2) shirt on back [T with a picture] and then the elusive 3) where to lay ones 'ead [morgage]. The 19th Century was the age when the freedom to remove ones head efficiently by guillotine was in line with all the efficient methods of having more goods than their Laudships required, slowly being demanded by those that had less than the daily requirement of food and clothing, he still had a 'ead resting problem [even K M. failed to solve that one].
For that, one spends 12 hours each day to achieve that[today 2 hours each way commute and 8 working ]. In Sams time, yer spent 12 hours, but no commuting [no monthly payments ], the 'ead went on the truckle bed beneath the squires resting space. In other words servant/employer has slowly evolved,from no cash, food and board, to no food and board and some cash.

Glyn  •  Link

But Pepys writes that the doggy was drawn rather than was painted. Are we looking for a painting of an unknown woman with a black dog in her lap, or was this just a quick sketch that the artist dashed off in order to make his patrons happy? I agree with wembley that Pepys must have been an irritating person to paint, when he's not making 'helpful' suggestions he's standing behind him watching him work.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I have newly taken a solemn oath about abstaining from plays and wine,.... "

Daniel (above) "Good readers, don't expect to much of this resolution, if my memory serves me well."

L&M note "[ Pepys ] recorded his oaths, probably in a small book, which he often read at odd moments, particularly on Sundays; and occasionally in the open air; e.g. in a wood at Epsom, "there reading my vowes as I used to on Sundays.". http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1… From time to time in his effort to keep them, he wrote out fair copies. None of these MSS has been traced.

Geoff Hallett  •  Link

Sam mentioned a short while ago seeing youths beating horses who were too tired to get up Fish Street Hill. Was in London last week and walked up that hill. It is the everyday things like this that bring the Diary to life. Stood on the hill and imagined the scene. Magic.

GrannieAnnie  •  Link

Terry Foreman mentioned an interesting point about Pepys reviewing his resolutions from time to time. Sam should have tried our method: husband and I have written resolutions FOR EACH OTHER for the coming year almost every year since our marriage 49 years ago, then with great hilarity we grade each other at year's end. Makes for an interesting re-read over the years seeing what was important back when and how certain issues (like getting rid of paper clutter and over-stuffed closets) resurface regularly, probably not an issue in Pepys day, lucky them.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Glyn posts: "But Pepys writes that the doggy was drawn rather than was painted. Are we looking for a painting of an unknown woman with a black dog in her lap, or was this just a quick sketch that the artist dashed off in order to make his patrons happy?"

This painting is being built up -- apparently slowly -- in layers: so far drawings; underpainting (images in "dead colors" = earth tones) -- adding and subtracting. L&M say the dog Pepys would have Savill portray is possibly that given her by her brother: https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"The fleet hath been ready to sail for Portugall, but hath lacked wind this fortnight"

It did not set sail until 15 January. (L&M note)

Admiral James Vashon  •  Link

"My chiefest thought is now to get a good wife for Tom, there being one offered by the Joyces, a cozen of theirs, worth 200l. in ready money."

I've been reading the Modern Library unabridged Pepys' as an escape from politics (Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in yesterday). It's so rich with illustrations of the entrenched depth and the slow pace of change of human nature and western capitalism. Most days it's a calming influence, but gems like the above pop the spell and make me wonder just how far us Yanks are intending to rewind civilization. Sorry, world.

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