Saturday 1 February 1661/62

This morning within till 11 o’clock, and then with Commissioner Pett to the office; and he staid there writing, while I and Sir W. Pen walked in the garden talking about his business of putting his son to Cambridge; and to that end I intend to write to-night to Dr. Fairebrother, to give me an account of Mr. Burton of Magdalene.

Thence with Mr. Pett to the Paynter’s; and he likes our pictures very well, and so do I. Thence he and I to the Countess of Sandwich, to lead him to her to kiss her hands: and dined with her, and told her the news (which Sir W. Pen told me to-day) that express is come from my Lord with letters, that by a great storm and tempest the mole of Argier is broken down, and many of their ships sunk into the mole. So that God Almighty hath now ended that unlucky business for us; which is very good news. After dinner to the office, where we staid late, and so I home, and late writing letters to my father and Dr. Fairebrother, and an angry letter to my brother John for not writing to me, and so to bed.

24 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

" a great storm and tempest the mole of Argier is broken down, and many of their ships sunk into the mole. So that God Almighty hath now ended that unlucky business for us; which is very good news."

Hmmn...So was that the Turkish fleet that sank? Or is Sam just making the best out of a disaster? I'd thought the Tangier mole was a British construct unless the Turks beat them to it.

Clement  •  Link

It seems that by this point the English were done with the effort and expense of holding the area, and so were pleased to have the harbor wrecked and marginally out of service for the Turks/Moors.

Etymology: Middle French, from Old Italian molo, from Late Greek mOlos, from Latin moles, literally, mass, exertion; akin to Greek mOlos exertion
1 : a massive work formed of masonry and large stones or earth laid in the sea as a pier or breakwater
2 : the harbor formed by a mole
(Merriam Webster)

vicenzo  •  Link

"mole of Argier is broken down" or was the mole of T'angier with a bit of Geographical difference in longitude of approx 20 min of solar day.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Thank you JWB for excellent reading on the weblink provided.

vicenzo  •  Link

So Fate steps in, 'tis always good to have an icon?"...that by a great storm and tempest the mole of Argier is broken down, and many of their ships sunk into the mole...." Sam has hard time understanding the Argier situation.

first mentioned: problems"... he told me that I need not fear any reflection upon my Lord for their ill success at Argier, for more could not be done than was done...."…
" of Argier hath of late troubled me, because my Lord hath not done what he went for, though he did as much as any man in the world could have done..." similar words?…
'Virtuti melius fortunae creditur.'
Syrus , Maxims.
'tis better to trust in courage than lady luck.

Tangiers is wanted because of the problems of Algiers

JWB  •  Link

"...while we were at supper comes Mr. Moore with letters from my Lord Sandwich, speaking of his lying still at Tangier" Jan.25 '61/'62

vicenzo  •  Link

It makes the situation clear, no mole at Tangiers until nov '62. thanks to JWB

Mary  •  Link

The pirate base in Algiers.

Sandwich's action in August 1661 to control the pirate menace in the Mediterranean had had little success; now this storm has done the job for him. According to L&M footnote, the Algerines lost 11 men-o'-war and several merchantmen as well as losing the use of the mole.

Mary  •  Link

"to kiss her hands"

I detect a hint of pride and self-satisfaction here, as Sam exercises a degree of social patronage and takes the opportunity to present Pett to Lady Sandwich. In naval terms the Petts were a powerful (and wealthy) family.

Pedro.  •  Link

"mole of Argier”

The inner harbour was begun in 1518 by Khair-ad-Din Barbarossa (see History, below), who, to accommodate his pirate vessels, caused the island on which was Fort Penon to be connected with the mainland by a mole. The lighthouse which occupies the site of Fort Penon was built in 1544.……

Mary  •  Link

History of the Civil Wars

(I would have placed this on the Discussion Group page, but that site refuses to recognise my password for some reason).

This Thursday (3rd February) British Channel 4 TV at 9 pm is showing the first of three programmes devoted to the Civil Wars. No idea how good they will be, but thought readers might be interested

Mary  •  Link

Wrong date.

Sorry: for 3rd February read 10th February above.

Pauline  •  Link

"...I intend to write to-night to Dr. Fairebrother....late writing letters to my father and Dr. Fairebrother...."
This entry appears conceived in two parts--reflecting either notes taken early in the day used verbatim or actually writing it in two sittings. Interesting. It sometimes seems like he finishes an entry the following day, adding the late evening doings--anything that happened after he made the day's diary entry.

BradW  •  Link


I don't recall Sam using that honorific before for "My Lady" Montague. Perhaps as implied above Sam is proud of his access and power, and it leaked out of his pen just a bit.

Pauline  •  Link

Or perhaps Pett used the term as they set out for him to be introduced (presented?) to her, and Sam uses it because it struck him that he hadn’t been thinking of her as the countess, but that is what she is. The reverse of hearing a very serious researcher I know named Ed called Eddie by his brother—left me needing to call him Eddie at least once.

vicenzo  •  Link

contempt is bred by familiarity:'tis why some doth keep up a barrier when they beget a touch on the epaulette.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

About time our wonderful Lady Jemina got a little respect...

Fascinating about the destruction of the Algerian fleet and their mole. It will be interesting to see if Sam notes the British mole's improvements, if any, over the original.

vicenzo  •  Link

I doth think the two moles be at two different locations.

karim  •  Link

What Pepys is referring to here is the Algier's mole since Tangier was still a blueprint map. Sandwich had been ordered to the Mediterranean to redress grievances with the North African States, Algiers, Tripoli and Tunis commonly referred to as 'Barbary States' but his mission met with little success mostly because of the bad weather conditions.
We know from other sources that Sir John Lawson who served under Earl of Sandwich had better luck in intercepting Algiers vessels in the straits.
Tangier mole is a different and painful story. I recommend reading Hugh Cholmley's ,"An Account Relating to the Work of the Mole at Tangier" (1679)

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"by a great storm and tempest the mole of Argier is broken down"

MOLE, a Rampart, Pier, or Fence, against the Force of the Sea.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘mole . . from Byzantine Greek μῶλος . . < classical Latin mōlēs . .
2. A massive structure, esp. of stone, serving as a pier, breakwater, or causeway. Also: the area of water bounded by or contained within such a structure, esp. forming a harbour or port.
. . 1615 G. Sandys Relation of Journey 255 The Mole, that from the South windes defendeth the hauen.
. . 1695 R. Blackmore Prince Arthur iv. 108 As when a Mold repels th' Invading Seas . . ‘

Third Reading

Ruslan  •  Link

I've been playing around with ChatGPT and asked it to explain the following sentence from today's entry.

> express is come from my Lord with letters, that by a great storm and tempest the mole of Argier is broken down, and many of their ships sunk into the mole.

This is what it came up with:

> The sentence is saying that an express message has arrived from someone referred to as "my Lord" with letters, reporting that a severe storm and tempest caused the mole (a breakwater or pier) in the port of Algiers to break down, and that as a result, many ships have sunk into the mole. In other words, the message is relaying news that the storm has caused significant damage to the port infrastructure in Algiers, and that many ships have been lost as a result. The use of the phrase "God Almighty hath now ended that unlucky business for us" suggests that the author of the text views this news as positive and that the destruction of the mole may have been seen as a positive outcome for their interests or plans.

You can carry on chatting with the bot and ask it questions about Algiers, piracy at the time, moles, why this was good news, or whatever else comes to mind.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

In a few months I'm going to ask it who killed Edmund Berry Godfrey.

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