Thursday 27 March 1662

Early Sir G. Carteret, both Sir Williams and I by coach to Deptford, it being very windy and rainy weather, taking a codd and some prawnes in Fish Street with us.

We settled to pay the Guernsey, a small ship, but come to a great deal of money, it having been unpaid ever since before the King came in, by which means not only the King pays wages while the ship has lain still, but the poor men have most of them been forced to borrow all the money due for their wages before they receive it, and that at a dear rate, God knows, so that many of them had very little to receive at the table, which grieved me to see it.

To dinner, very merry. Then Sir George to London, and we again to the pay, and that done by coach home again and to the office, doing some business, and so home and to bed.

14 Annotations

First Reading

Bradford  •  Link

Picard has three very informative pages about the scandal pertaining to the payment---or, more often, non-payment---of sea-men during the decade covered by the diary. Many were given "tickets" to be redeemed later, which they often had to sell at a discount for ready money; or, as she pithily puts it, "They enlisted abroad. They . . . rioted in their hundreds for the wages they had no desperately earned. They begged. They stole. They starved."
(See "Restoration London," pp. 251-53.)

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"which grieved me to see it"
Very compassionate man our Sam!I wonder if he was in a position to do something about it.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

which grieved me to see it. To dinner, very merry.

Never let your empathy interfere with a good meal.

Ruben  •  Link

The Guernsey
a ship with the same name (probably the same ship) participated in the anglo dutch war.
See: http://anglo-dutch-wars.blogspot.…
If you want to read about the sailors and officers predicament and training, see:…
For a pictorial view of what the activities looked like at a ships loading see:…
In winter and when not needed vessels were kept aground. There was a lot of maintenance to do in a wooden ship.

Ruben  •  Link

"which grieved me to see it"
A. De Araujo is right, and I think our man in Restoration England was responsible for the improvement in the sailors condition as pointed in my previous annotation.

Pauline  •  Link

"...which means not only the King pays wages while the ship has lain still.."
Meaning that an unpaid ship lays still until it is paid?

Mary  •  Link

"which grieved me to see it"

Pepys is an orderly man. Part of his grief in this instance may stem from the lack of organisation within the 'civil service' (Treasury and Navy Office) that has caused this poverty and brought needless expense to both the King and the seamen.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Re Pauline's comment: I took this to mean that Sam is commenting on the inefficiency of it all - this ship should have been paid off as soon as it was laid up, but, for some reason (sheer inefficiency) it was overlooked, so not only has the King got to pay wages for all the time it was laid up, but because nothing has been happeni9ng, the men have had to borrow to make ends meet.

Mary  •  Link

Paying off the Guernsey.

PRO shows that her pay-off, for the period June 1660 to March 1662, came to nearly £3000. The ship herself was a fifth-rater.

vicenzo  •  Link

If it be a 5th rate ship then it was a ship of 60 to 100 crew and was armed with 16 to 22 guns .
Like the Convert.
Typical debts for the navy:…
there is a nice report july 9th '61 H of C
typical debts for the navy…
Disbanding the Army, &c.
Mr. Birch reports from the Committee for the Navy, that all paid off, save One hundred and Fifty thousand Pounds, and the Accompts ready to be delivered in.
Ordered, That it be referred to the Commissioners for Disbanding and Paying of the Army and Navy to continue so many of the Auditors as they shall find necessary; and to pay them for such time only as they shall be employed in the Service.

From: British History Online
Source: House of Commons Journal Volume 8: 27 July 1661. Journal of the House of Commons: volume 8, (1802).
URL:… revenue
Date: 28/03/2005
c Copyright 2003-2005 University of London & History of Parliament Trust
another comment:
He told us, Twenty-five Ships lay in Harbour, at a useless Charge amounting to Fifteen thousand Pounds a Month: And that the Inconveniences was not only the Uselessness of the Charge, but another Inconvenience followed; the Seamen lie idle, and by that means become unserviceable: And he told us, Sixscore thousand Pounds would cut off that Charge.”

From: British History Online
Source: House of Commons Journal Volume 8: 7 September 1660. Journal of the House of Commons: volume 8, (1802).
URL:… revenue
Date: 28/03/2005
c Copyright 2003-2005 University of London & History of Parliament Trust

by july 61

DK Johnson  •  Link

So his heart breaks at the sight of the impoverished sailors, whose labor has been stolen by their government.

How many times have we, ourselves, seen similar pitiable situations of want and poverty, but held our hand, because there is no end to want and poverty? How can we address them all?

Also, to act on his compassion could be seen as a rebuke of the power that he himself participates in through his high office. He confides his feelings to his diary, to do otherwise is to compromise his position in the social order.

People speak of "old times" and "modern times," but this seems a perpetually contemporary problem.

Nix  •  Link

a perpetually contemporary problem --

The thing that has struck me most about the diary is how easily we recognize Samuel and all his associates and situations.

1:9. What is it that hath been? the same thing that shall be. What is it
that hath been done? the same that shall be done.

1:10. Nothing under the sun is new, neither is any man able to say:
Behold this is new: for it hath already gone before in the ages that
were before us.


Bradford  •  Link

Re Pauline's question:
Picard says, "One of the first laws passed by the Parliament that welcomed Charles back provided that the Navy should be paid off from the proceeds of the poll tax. . . . By March 1661 the Commmissioners were paying off two ships a day . . . the total amount for each ship averaging about L4,000. . . . But the poll tax was slower to come in than had been anticipated, and the ships still waited off shore, unable to dock because there was no cash to pay their crews. . . . The scandal dragged on. In 1666," and so on, and so forth, indeed. Cf. "Restoration London," p. 251, "The Poor."

Phil Gyford  •  Link

Just a gentle reminder...

If you're posting something specific to something that appears in the Background Info, such as the Guernsey here, please post the information to the relevant page.

By all means post anything that's particularly relevant to the day's entry here as well, but in the long term it's much more useful to have the information in Background Info.

Many thanks.

Log in to post an annotation.

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