Saturday 8 March 1661/62

By coach with both Sir Williams to Westminster; this being a great day there in the House to pass the business for chimney-money, which was done.

In the Hall I met with Serjeant Pierce; and he and I to drink a cup of ale at the Swan, and there he told me how my Lady Monk hath disposed of all the places which Mr. Edwd. Montagu hoped to have had, as he was Master of the Horse to the Queen; which I am afraid will undo him, because he depended much upon the profit of what he should make by these places. He told me, also, many more scurvy stories of him and his brother Ralph, which troubles me to hear of persons of honour as they are.

About one o’clock with both Sir Williams and another, one Sir Rich. Branes, to the Trinity House, but came after they had dined, so we had something got ready for us. Here Sir W. Batten was taken with a fit of coughing that lasted a great while and made him very ill, and so he went home sick upon it.

Sir W. Pen. and I to the office, whither afterward came Sir G. Carteret; and we sent for Sir Thos. Allen, one of the Aldermen of the City, about the business of one Colonel Appesley, whom we had taken counterfeiting of bills with all our hands and the officers of the yards, so well counterfeited that I should never have mistrusted them. We staid about this business at the office till ten at night, and at last did send him with a constable to the Counter; and did give warrants for the seizing of a complice of his, one Blinkinsopp.

So home and wrote to my father, and so to bed.

21 Annotations

First Reading

Alan Bedford  •  Link

"...scurvy stories of him and his brother Ralph..."

That would be Edward's brother Ralph. Background on Ralph Mountagu at:…

Rex Gordon  •  Link

The Counter ...

or Compter, "was the name given to the two prisons owned by the city corporation and used for the punishment of civil offenses. They were in Great Wood Street (on the east side) and the Poultry (on the north side, well back from the street at the end of a passage), each being administered by one of the sheriffs. Both were destroyed in the Fire and rebuilt. There was a third Counter, which does not appear in the diary. It was for debtors, and situated in Southwark." (L&M Companion)

Glyn  •  Link

The Counter or Compter: the prison attached to a city court. These would be fairly small as they weren't meant to house long-term prisoners. By the way, this isn't the first time that someone has been arrested for forging Pepys's signature; see the entry for 12 April 1661:…

I suppose it's a sign of his growing importance that his signature on a document is now widely recognised and is worth forging.

Glyn  •  Link

Badmouthing the Montagus

This isn't the first time that Sergeant Pierce has done this - see also the entry for February 14.…

What is the significance of his title: was sergeant something different from what we know now?

Mary  •  Link


see entry and annotations for 3rd March.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Serjeant Pierce

In context Pierce is a senior lawyer of the Common Law Courts, he is met by Pepys in Westminster Hall. Serjent's were a group of crown appointed lawyers somewhat similar to QC's today.…

upper_left_hand_corner  •  Link

Is this Sam's first use of scurvy in the diary?

Does it indicate he is starting to pick up more nautical slang? I don't think scurvy was common among the land-bound population.

Nix  •  Link

"Scurvy" --

This seems to be first time Samuel has used it, but OED indicates it was a well-established usage (including by Shakespeare), not just nautical slang:

"2. fig. Sorry, worthless, contemptible. Said both of persons and things. Cf. SCABBED a. 2. Also of treatment, etc.: Shabby, discourteous. Now somewhat arch.

"1579 J. NORTHBROOKE Dicing 64b, Looke that thou flee and eschewe this scabbed and scuruie company of Dauncers. 1587 Mirr. Mag., Wolsey ii, Ambitious minde, a world of wealth would haue, So scrats and scrapes, for scorfe, and scoruy drosse. 1592 KYD Sp. Trag. III. v. 1411 Ist not a scuruie iest that a man should iest himselfe to death? 1604 SHAKES. Oth. IV. ii. 140 The Moore's abus'd by some most villanous Knaue, Some base notorious Knaue, some scuruy Fellow. 1632 LITHGOW Trav. III. 107 He reporteth..that the scuruy Ile of Manne, is so abundant in Oates, Barley, and Wheate, that it supplieth the defects of Scotland. 1710 SWIFT Jrnl. to Stella 19 Nov., Steele and I sat among some scurvy company over a bowl of punch. 1710-11 Ibid. 9 Jan., We only had a scurvy dinner at an alehouse. 1751 SMOLLETT Per. Pic. (1779) II. lxv. 217 The music of a scurvy organ and a few other instruments. 1823 SCOTT Peveril xliv, Take your hand from my cloak, my Lord Duke,..I have a scurvy touch of old puritanical humour about me. I abide not the imposition of hands. 1876 BLACKIE Songs of Relig. 113 The bare brae seems clad in mockery, With one thin belt of lean, and scurvy trees. 1902 BRENAN House of Percy II. ii. 83 Scant preferment and scurvy friendship..the Earl received."

Australian Susan  •  Link

Although we tend to know this word only as the name for Vitamin C definciency disease (scourge of early Antractic explorers at the beginning of the 20th century), this was a late-developed meaning. Originally it was a term of disparagement, then more specifically applied to those with a diseased appeareance and then the word associations clustered around the descriptive and then noun term for the disease origianlly thought to be caused by contaminated food - only later was it realised to be vitamin deficiency. Although the Ropyal Navy were instrumental in tackling this problem with the introduction of a lime juice ration to sailors (thus the term 'Limeys'), they didn't really know why what they did helped. In Polar expeditions, Nansen only used tinned food, because he thought scruvy was casued by contamination (he was lucky to escape scruvy - mainly saved by fresh seal meat). Amundsen's Antarctic expedition didn't suffer because their leader had observed the Innuit practice of eating seal brains (v. high in Vit. C) and their lack of scurvy. He copied this, although he didn't know why it protected against scurvy. His men were aslo helped by eating preserved blueberries every morning with hot cakes (when in base camp). Scurvy as a disease was not so much of a problem with the Navy in the 17th century - they didn't go on so many really long voyages yet, with the reliance on salt pork and biscuit as rations.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Hmmm. Perhaps I should find a blog about Antarctic exploration. I know far too much trivia about these expeditions..... Will endeavour to anchor self in 17th century and not go off topic. And not be Sam-like in my keeping of resolutions!

Bradford  •  Link

As the L&M Companion has no listening for a "Pierce," is this man James Pearse, "The most distinguished naval surgeon of the period," who was also married to a beautiful woman named Elizabeth? Or---possibly more likely---a friend and relative of his, Andrew Pearse, who was a purser whose "association with Montague dated back to at least 1656"? (Companion, pp. 310-311) Assistance from those with complete L&M solicited.

vicenzo  •  Link

as noted by Glyn: the Old Baily: Not a big a problem as stealing me ladies fineries.
Note Sam sent for the Same Alderman to prosecute this case as it involved the whole office.
"...There were two persons that had been convicted of forging Tickets, they had judgment to stand in the Pillory three several days, and fined...."…

vicenzo  •  Link

RE: forgery: there be another Samuell Pepys clerk: he was petitioning back in aug 60:
Pepys versus Wood.
Upon reading the Petition of Samuell Pepys Clerk:
It is ORDERED, That Jonathan Wood shall have a Copy of this Petition, and then both Parties shall be heard.

From: British History Online
Source: House of Lords Journal Volume 11: 24 August 1660. Journal of the House of Lords: volume 11, ().
URL:… Boughton
Date: 11/03/2005

Mary  •  Link

Serjeant Pierce.

The complete L&M offers no footnote to Serjeant Pierce at this point. As this meeting took place in Westminster Hall, the likelihood is that this man was indeed a legal serjeant (as noted by Michael Robinson above).

If the name is to be taken as referring to James Pierce, courtier and naval surgeon, we might have to wonder whether 'Serjeant' is not a misreading of 'Surgeon'. Phonetically possible, but one hesitates to question L&M's transcription of the diary.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Serjeant Pierce and other minor persons

I recommend the L&M Companion (Vol. X, which lists mostly the major figures in the Diary) where he isn't
be supplemented by the L&M Index (Vol. XI) where he is.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"...we sent for Sir Thos. Allen, one of the Aldermen of the City, about the business of one Colonel Appesley, whom we had taken counterfeiting of bills with all our hands and the officers of the yards..."

L&M note the Officers of the Navy Board, although J.P.'s for Middlesex, lacked the power to issue warrants for arrest within the city until 1664… , hence their sending for a magistrate.

Bill  •  Link

"my Lady Monk hath disposed of all the places which Mr. Edwd. Montagu hoped to have had, as he was Master of the Horse to the Queen"

She is called in the State Poems "the Monkey Duchess." The Duke was Master of the Horse to the King.
---Diary and correspondence of Samuel Pepys, the diary deciphered by J. Smith. 1854.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Appesley and his accomplices were relatively fortunate. Apart from counterfeiting coins and forging royal seals, which had been High Treason since 1351, forgery was not yet a capital crime.

However, in the aftermath of the South Sea Bubble, any type of forgery, or "uttering forgery", that is knowingly passing a forged document as genuine, was made by the Perjury Act of 1728 to be a felony punishable by "Death without Benefit of Clergy". They remained capital offences until 1837.…

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