Saturday 15 February 1661/62

With the two Sir Williams to the Trinity-house; and there in their society had the business debated of Sir Nicholas Crisp’s sasse at Deptford. Then to dinner, and after dinner I was sworn a Younger Brother; Sir W. Rider being Deputy Master for my Lord of Sandwich; and after I was sworn, all the Elder Brothers shake me by the hand: it is their custom, it seems.

Hence to the office, and so to Sir Wm. Batten’s all three, and there we staid till late talking together in complaint of the Treasurer’s instruments. Above all Mr. Waith, at whose child’s christening our wives and we should have been to-day, but none of them went and I am glad of it, for he is a very rogue, So home, and drew up our report for Sir N. Crispe’s sasse, and so to bed. No news yet of our fleet gone to Tangier, which we now begin to think long.

43 Annotations

First Reading

Pedro  •  Link

"No news yet of our fleet gone to Tangier, which we now begin to think long."

An example of the amount of time taken for news to reach Sam. Peterborough had arrived on the 29th of January, and took over after Montagu's great defence against the Moors, that Sam has not yet heard about.

dirk  •  Link

"I was sworn a Younger Brother"

Younger & Elder Brothers? Can anybody clarify what this refers to?

Pauline  •  Link

" is their custom, it seems..."
Something unimpressed here? Perhaps Sam has to date been too impressed with title and status and does not yet see how well his own up-and-comingness fits with the successful merchant (meritocracy/"modern man") class.

JWB  •  Link

"…it is their custom, it seems…"
English understatement.

vicenzo  •  Link

I do be thinking that Sam would be upset by a Hug. I guess handshake doth be only between better of the equalities; not betters and underlings.
Same Eco. level[ trade with trade, Clerke and clerke and not THE Clerke, he be MISterr Smythe or MR Faversham-Jones ] otherwise it be Smith and Jones, if friendly it might degenerate down to be smitty and jonesy, if very friendly it could be Tom and Dick. otherwise it doth be You, Mr, Rank Major Peawee-Smith, then Squire then sir Laudy etc. etc..
Status and Pecking order was the ruling of the day. ["How dare you address me in that manner, I am the REV Hunter-Man. Remember your Place and My man, doth thy Hat when the speak to me". Remember the Quakers be in Trouble for equalising and failing to pay homage. There be laws on this topic.

vicenzo  •  Link

For those that enjoy common law here is a taste:
Woodman versus Bye, in Error.
Whereas Ferdinando Bye brought an Action of Trover, in His Majesty's Court of King's Bench, against John Woodman, for certain Goods seized and taken from him; and, in Prosecution of the said Action, had Judgement given for him, in Easter Term, 13° Caroli Iidi Regis: Thereupon the said John Woodman brought his Writ of Error before the Lords in Parliament; and, according to Rule, 'signed Errors; and said, "Quod in Recordo et Process. prædict. ac etiam in Redditione Judicii prædict. manifest. est Errat. in hoc, videlicet, Quod Narrat. prædict. Materiaque in ead. content. minus sufficient. in Lege existunt ad Actionem ipsius Ferdinand. Bye inde versus ipsum Joh'em Woodman habend. manutenend. ideo in eo manifest. est Errat. Errat. est etiam in hoc, quod ubi per Record. prædict. apparet quod Judic. prædict. in Formâ prædict. reddit. reddit. suit pro præfat. Ferdinand. Bye versus prædict. Joh'em Woodman versus (fn. *) eand. dict. Ferdinand. Bye, ideo in eo manifest. est Errat. &c. Et prædict. Ferdinand. Bye in propriâ Personâ venit, et dicit, Quod nec in Recordo et Processu prædict. nec in Redditione Judicii prædict. in ullo est Errat. et petit quod Curia hic procedat ad Examinationem tam Record. et Process. prædict. quam Materiarum prædict. superius pro Error. assign. Sed quia, &c."

The Lords in Parliament hearing this Day Counsel argue the same on both Sides at this Bar; and, after Examination of the Record and Process, and upon mature Deliberation of the whole Business, with the Advice of the Judges then present, gave this Judgement, "That the said Writ of Error and the Scire facias are insufficient in Law; and that the aforesaid Judgement given in His Majesty's Court of King's Bench is hereby affirmed; and that the Transcript of the said Writ of Error shall be remitted, that Execution may be taken out according to due Course of Law, the said Writ notwithstanding."

And being it appeared to this House, that the said Writ of Error was brought merely for Vexation: It is further ORDERED and Adjudged, "That the said John Woodman, the Plaintiff, shall pay unto the said Ferdinand Bye Defendant, the Sum of Twenty Pounds for Costs, within Ten Days next after the Serving of this Order upon him."

From: British History Online
Source: House of Lords Journal Volume 11: 15 February 1662. Journal of the House of Lords: volume 11, ().
Date: 16/02/2005
c Copyright 2003-2005 University of London & History of Parliament Trust

vicenzo  •  Link

an aside: there be one Samuell Pepis[pepys] of of Preston Bisset, in the County of Bucks, Clerk:
Upon reading the Petition of Samuell Pepis, of Preston Bisset, in the County of Bucks, Clerk:
It is ORDERED, That Jonathan Wood, complained of therein, shall have a Copy of the said Petition, to the End that both Parties may be heard before any Judgement be given by this House thereupon.

From: British History Online
Source: House of Lords Journal Volume 11: 24 August 1660. Journal of the House of Lords: volume 11, ().
Date: 16/02/2005

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Shaking Hands ... it is their custom

Could, perhaps, Sam be aluding to the different habits and customs of the various societies he comes accross? For example, Barrister members of the Inns of Court traditionaly do not shake hands; however the senior members, The Bencher's, do shake hands, but only with each other.

Do we know who,if anyone, "shakes hands" at meetings with Sam as a Clerk of the Acts or when he is at the Privy Seal- do they, perhaps, nod or offer a slight bow of incliation to each other?

andy  •  Link

I was sworn a Younger Brother

would it be reasonable to describe this organisation as a quasi-masonic "brotherhood"? The handshaking of a Younger Brother by Elder Brethren is surely part of the ritual of introduction.

Australian Susan  •  Link

The Hand Shaking
I read this to mean that Sam was surprised that "all" of the Elder Brethren shook his hand - maybe there were a lot of them present and it was quite a formal ritual (cf Masonic rituals as alluded to above) or perhaps Sam is just pleased that ALL of the Elder Brethren shook his hand - signs of increased status and equality with these people. Status-linked acts (hat wearing or doffing, bowing, not bowing etc) were very important at that time: it is easy for us to forget this in our more casual times. Quakers were jailed for refusing to take their hats off. Michael Robinson makes the point about the legal profession still carrying on the custom of who can/should shake hands with whom and who can't. I think Sam is noting this because he is pleased at the action: further proof of how far up the ladder he's scrambled.

Mary  •  Link

"it is their custom"

My instinct is that this custom came as a surprise to Pepys, perhaps because handshaking, rather than other forms of greeting, was relatively uncommon. It would be interesting to know something of the social history of the handshake ('handshaking' as a noun does not appear in OED until 1803).

As for the numbers, Sam specifies that all the Elder brethren shook him by the hand; there would have been 10 Elder Brethren (elected for life) to roughly 300 Younger Brethren.

Red Robbo  •  Link

Sir N Crispe's Sasse

Does anybody know what a Sasse is, I've tried doing searches but can only turn up references to its use as a Surname of German origin.

Mary  •  Link


(See also the entry for 25th January).
Sluice or lock (fr. Dutch sas).

This was Crisp's plan for a large wet dock to hold 200 ships.

vicenzo  •  Link

"... sasse at Deptford..."see "...against Sir N. Crisp's project of making a great sasse[1] in the King's lands about Deptford, to be a wett-dock to hold 200 sail of ships. But the ground, it seems, was long since given by the King to Sir Richard) was…”…

upper_left_hand_corner  •  Link

"for he is a very rogue"

I know we've discussed this usage before, but it still intrigues me.

Nowdays we might use "an old rogue" instead of "a very rogue". I once encountered something similar in a 500-year-old Spanish story, La Vida de un Picaro. "!La muy (very) bruja!" == "The old witch!". Since this was a text for students, the expression was carefully explained in a footnote.

Could Sam's phrase be Latin-influenced usage?

vicenzo  •  Link

ULHC: I doth do think he be under some 'Latina' influence: It was one of the languages that he had to be correct, in all of the details, in order to be a good student, the language of the Alley ways would creep into 'is English, tho' with discipline he keep most of the illiterate bits at bay.

dirk  •  Link


Sam's usage is not so strange as it seems, knowing that "very" derives from Old French "verai" (modern french "vrai"), meaning "true" - over Middle English "verrai/verray".

Cfr. Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales":
He was a verray, parfit gentil knyght. (072)

If we replace the word "very" in sentences like "for he is a very rogue" by true, it all makes perfect sense.

Stolzi  •  Link

I thought the hand-shaking was only upon the occasion of his joining. Just so, the Elders of the Presbyterian Church,in the town where I grew up, would shake hands with a newly-professed member of the church. (Children and babies were baptized, but one was expected to make a formal profession of faith at a later age, and "join the church").

There is a story of Winston Churchill, whose French was energetic but unreliable, going over to France before the collapse of that country and informing one of his French hosts, "Je suis un frere aine' de la Trinite' " - "I am an Elder Brother of the Trinity."

The Frenchman took this as a theological statement, and a peculiar one, certainly, but who knew what ces crazy Anglais might be up to?

vicenzo  •  Link

I wonder when a hand shake became acceptable to becoming a general welcoming/greeting? 'tis one way to find out, if the greeted one be armed or not. May be it be less offensive to shake a mitt than to doff the chapeau, and show ones tonsure, or even go down on bended knee before an important God like figure.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Very & True
When Sam recited the Creed in Church he would have said "Very God of Very God" not "True God of True God" as modern prayer books have it. This was the mid-16th century translation of Cramner.

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

When Sam recited the Creed in Church he would have said "Very God of Very God" not "True God of True God" as modern prayer books have it.

When I used to go to a C of E church which had sung mass, we would sing ‘very God of very God’, and that was only in the 80s and 90s.

vicenzo  •  Link

thanks: great insites and to the meaning: Lets Shake on it. Fluellen did not see that site on handfasting at the styles.

Mary  •  Link

'very' used as an adjective.

This usage persisted for a long time. cf. Gilbert and Sullivan's "I am the very model of a modern major-general".

GrahamT  •  Link

...and the song "The very thought of you"...

Australian Susan  •  Link

Very again
Shakespeare used the superlative "veriest". Probably others too. And if one can find a church still using the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, the Nicean Creed will still say "very God of very God" - or if an older musical setting is used. You can't substitute a one syllable word for a two syllable one (and a very good thing too, some would say!)Unaltered forms of "O come, all ye faithful" use "very God" as well.

Peter  •  Link

By the very act of discussing it we have shown that the usage remains the same to this day.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Trinity House is ruled by a court of thirty-one Elder Brethren, presided over by a Master....These are appointed from 300 Younger Brethren who act as advisors and perform other duties as needed. The Younger Brethren are themselves appointed from lay people with maritime experience, mainly naval officers and ships' masters but also harbourmasters, pilots, yachtsmen and anyone with useful experience."…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I was sworn a Younger Brother"

L&M note Pepys kept a copy of his oath. He became an Elder Brother in 1672, Younger Warden in 1675, and served as Master in 1676-7 and 1685-6, resigning from the corporation in 1689.

Bill  •  Link

"I was sworn a Younger Brother"

The Corporation of the Trinity House received its first charter from Henry VIII. in 1514. In 1604 a select class was constituted, called elder brethren, the other members being called younger brethren. By the charter of 1609 the sole management of affairs was conferred on the elder brethren, the younger brethren having, however, a vote in the election of Master and Wardens. Among some miscellaneous manuscripts of Samuel Pepys, which were in the possession of Mr. S. J. Davey, of 47, Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, in 1889, was a copy of this oath, in which Pepys swore to "use" himself "as becometh a younger brother for the time you shall so continue." At the end is the following memorandum: "I tooke this oath at ye Trinity House in London (Sir Wm. Rider, Dep. Maister for the Earl of Sandwich), this 15th day of Feb., 1661. — Samuel Pepys." Pepys was Master of the Trinity House in 1676.
---Wheatley, 1899.

Bill  •  Link

"Sir Nicholas Crisp’s sasse at Deptford"

SASSE, a Sluice or Lock, especially in a River that is cut with Floodgates to shut up or let out Water, for the better Passage of Boats and Barges.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Bill  •  Link

"he is a very rogue"

VERY, truly, indeed, in reality.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

arby  •  Link

My German beer, Warsteiner, is labeled "Verum".

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

"the Treasurer’s instruments" mean the clerks and officials working directly for Sir George Carteret as Treasurer to the Navy. This is a development of a story which came to our attention on 13th February:

"... Mr. Blackburne (whom I have not seen a long time) was come to speak with me, and among other discourse he do tell me plain of the corruption of all our Treasurer’s officers ... "

So now the Sir Williams, via Sam or otherwise, have become aware of this and are complaining about the flunkeys. They are careful not to throw mud at Carteret himself, as he is very high in favour at court. Sam, skilful at running with both hare and hounds, later develops a working relationship with Waith and respects his abilities. He also becomes close to Carteret, but believes him to be incapable of dealing with the complexities of his office.

"Lord! how fretfully Sir G. Carteret do discourse with Mr. Wayth about his accounts, like a man that understands them not one word. ...."…

When, after censure by Parliament following the Second Dutch War, , Carteret is eventually replaced as Navy Treasurer, the clerks are removed too.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘sasse, n. < Dutch sas, of obscure origin = lock n.2 11.
. . 1662 S. Pepys Diary 25 Jan. (1970) III. 18 Sir N. Crisp's project of making a great sasse in the King's Lands about Deptford, to be a wett dock . . ‘


‘very . . 3. In emphatic use, denoting that the person or thing may be so named in the fullest sense of the term, or possesses all the essential qualities of the thing specified . . Common from c1550 to c1700; now chiefly in the superlative, freq. qualifying something bad, objectionable, or undesirable . .
a. With a or the preceding . .
1693 Dryden tr. Juvenal Satires vi. 112 When Poor, she's scarce a tollerable Evil; But Rich, and Fine, a Wife's a very Devil.
. . b. With a inserted between the adj. and the n. qualified, esp. as or so very a . . Now rare or Obs.
. .1667 S. Pepys Diary 29 July (1974) VIII. 364 He is as very a wencher as can be . . ‘

Kyle in San Diego  •  Link

Regarding handshaking and Vicenzo's request from 2005, we really need to get working on finding out when handshaking became customary. Any inside would be much appreciated.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... we really need to get working on finding out ..."
Who's "we" Gunga Din? You can Google and post the answers too. This is a blog ... there are no professors.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"So home, and drew up our report for Sir N. Crispe’s sasse.

L&M: Navy Board to Lord Treasurer, 19 February (copy PL 2871, pp. 657-9), advising against use of the site, and proposing instead the cutting of a channel from Blackwall through the Isle of Dogs to Limehouse. For the report from Trinity House, see HMC, Rep., 8/1/1/250 b.

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