Tuesday 6 May 1662

This morning I got my seat set up on the leads, which pleases me well. So to the office, and thence to the Change, but could not meet with my uncle Wight. So home to dinner and then out again to several places to pay money and to understand my debts, and so home and walked with my wife on the leads, and so to supper and to bed.

I find it a hard matter to settle to business after so much leisure and pleasure.

32 Annotations

First Reading

david ross mcirvine  •  Link

"out again to several places to pay money and to understand my debts,"

When did Sam get paid last? and if he doesn't understand his debts, I'm puzzled--obviously he keeps books (which he reckons up at the end of the year).

dirk  •  Link

"to understand my debts"

I think he means just that: updating his "books", so that he "understands" his current financial situation.

Clement  •  Link

Sam was last paid on Feb 28 it seems, for either a half year or a quarter--there's some confusion (in my mind). He was still in the midst of fulfilling his New Year's resolution to "cast up his accounts" and to reconcile his debts when that lucky event occurred. Apparently the sailors on the ships he's been paying recently were not so fortunate with timing or amount by a long shot.

Nix  •  Link

"to understand my debts" --


b. To be thoroughly acquainted or familiar with (an art, profession, etc.); to be able to practise or deal with properly.

1533 ELYOT Cast. Helthe (1541) Aij, The science of phisicke,..beyng well vnderstande, truely experienced, and discretely ordred. 1622 J. TAYLOR (Water P.) Farew. Tower-bottles A4, When Vpland Trades-men thus dares take in hand A wat'ry buis'nesse, they not vnderstand. 1681 J. CHETHAM Angler's Vade-m. xxxix. (1689) 252, I will not deny but that (as the times phrase it) I understand something of eating. 1727 A. HAMILTON New Acc. E. Ind. II. 93 He..understood a small Sword excellently well, but [was] not much versed in Merchandize or foreign Commerce. 1768 EARL CARLISLE in Jesse Selwyn & Contemp. (1843) II. 292 Get somebody who understands it to taste it [sc. claret] for you. 1823 SCOTT Quentin D. xxvi, Galeotti..understood his own profession too well to let that ignorance be seen. 1859 Habits Gd. Society v. 221 Thomas, bring that fowl to me; Mr. Jones [who is trying to carve it] seems not to understand it.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"to settle to business after so much leisure and pleasure"
So what else is new?

David Ross McIrvine  •  Link

Ah, so it's like "to GET A HANDLE ON" his debts. And he won't be paid for 3 more weeks or so. Consider that his wife has recently gone shopping--"don't worry, cupcake, the fix is in"--he must have come on something somewhere. Thank you all, especially Mr. Nix.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Shades of that old song "Up on the Roof." Sounds like Sam and Beth had a very nice time sitting (well, he got to sit) and looking out over "their" City.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

"...then out again to several places to pay money and to understand my debts, ..." Doth sound like he got sum coin of the realm,and reconciling his tab with their tab. A possible source for this activity, could be his other job, sticking his ring of seal on to some papers that legalise peoples warrants or maybe his other little side job of being a JP. I've have noticed That Our Sam does not always tell 'is left hand wot 'is rite hand be up to brewing.
This diary is not for telling us hoi polloi, every little secret or inside joke, only notes those bits that he can smile at especially if it be impolitic to release on to the street. Just a few Jewels of teasers or change of routine. It must be read with large dollops of pepper.
Re: keeping abreast of slate monies, The Running tab be very common occupation untill The English got the HP [Hire Purchase]then later received the tabula expensum, as in yester years, people of Substance be paid and settle accounts on a yearly [annual, demi annual or quarterly [for the lower ranks]else otherwise, all others pay with coin or wait. At this time coin be in short circulation. So it was for most a little black book to keep tabs of the ins and the outs with those that had faith in ones 'onesty.
Unfortunately, money be a dirty word, never to be spoken in polite company , only at the trades man entrance. Thereby we are left in the dark about the shady side of finances.

professor david ross mcirvine  •  Link

cgs wrote:
"...then out again to several places to pay money and to understand my debts, ... Doth sound like he got sum coin of the realm,and reconciling his tab with their tab.”

Now you’ve come upon something interesting! I speculated in my post that Pepys paying outstanding debts plus the wife’s shopping means he’s been augmenting his gummint salary (which, as Clement noted, he was last paid on 2/28) with a little bribe-taking. But I think you have it for the source of the bribes, scilicet

“A possible source for this activity, could be his other job, sticking his ring of seal on to some papers that legalise peoples warrants or maybe his other little side job of being a JP.”

Peace Officer work just doesn’t change, does it? But maybe he got the dough in Portsmouth?

Ruben  •  Link

"...then out again to several places to pay money and to understand …”
The Salty One hit at the head of the nail again! This time, maybe, because of his experiences in South America, where common people would no doubt make no fuss of all this…
They behave like Pepys did in 2005!

Xjy  •  Link

"to settle to business after so much leisure and pleasure"
Yesterday’s diagnosis confirmed… ;-)

language hat  •  Link

"a little bribe-taking"

As has been said before, it's misleading to apply modern concepts like "bribe-taking" to the seventeenth century, when you were expected to augment your (usually insufficient) salary by charging people for your services.

david mcirvine  •  Link


"...a little bribe-taking"

As has been said before, it's misleading to apply modern concepts like "bribe-taking" to the seventeenth century, when you were expected to augment your (usually insufficient) salary by charging people for your services.”

When you say “salary,” I hope we can assume you apply the *word*, (as I did with “bribe-taking”), not the concept, as salary and the structure of pay and class were different in Sam’s times.

I say specifically “Sam’s times” (and
English changed much in them, indeed)
because, language hat, if you study the period, you’ll find that what you call the “seventeenth century”— what with various revolutions and a number of other events—is hardly one unvarying 100 year period. It may feel like you are crushing your rhetorical adversary under a greater weight when you throw a
100 year period of time, or an official-sounding phrase, at him, but you may want to wear a hernia-preventing truss the next time you say—”the seventeenth century” is quite a copious hold-all.

Britney Spears  •  Link

"I hope we can assume you apply the *word*, (as I did with "bribe-taking"), not the concept”

Sorry, but that makes no sense at all. You were clearly using the word bribe in the modern sense, therefore anachronistically.

dave mcirvine  •  Link

Well, I take back the hernia-preventing truss remark. Like Melville's Turkey (or is it Nippers?) I'm cranky in the morning and genial after noon.

Well, let's have fun and just come up with the good and colorful words and phrases they would have used at the time. Nest-feathering?

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Bribe in roman lingo n,pecunia, merces, or to [vt]corrumpere [vi] largiri, dispenser, liberal giver;
Briber= corruptor::bribary ;ambitus;
to bribe ; mod, to induce a person to do sumat wrong or worse, illegal [i.e.that be written by the h. of commons people]
Sam was not doing 'nutink' wrong, he just be the usual human, understanding the weakness of sweetning a deal. Money be like honey it sweetens and some dothe stick, money like muck should also be spread around to allow the green grass to grow.
Where doth sweetenning the deal become a bad deed. A pint of oysters from a supplier of hard tack, or glass of strong waters from another hard tack supplier. It may smell of corruption, still most deals can never be done in a clinical setting. [one does so like to make deals with nice people]
Up to this moment there has not been any persuading of bodies to behave against their concience or legal action as far as Sam dothe enter into his daily jottings;
Otherwise it would be bribe'e'ry to give a lass some ribbons for favors ?

Louis  •  Link

To state the obvious: It is not as if, in taking these payments for his official work, that Pepys is falling away from some ethical standard observed in the world at large. This is simply the way that government worked at the time, and one may as well get over it, because it's not going to change during the course of the Diary.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"to settle to business"
Think 'tips' or 'fees for service.'
We think nothing of tipping a waiter, we think nothing of paying a notary. In the same way, Sam is either performing services of his office (in which case he may get a tip for being courteous, efficient, friendly, all commodities not necessarily universal), or performing a private service which he can by virtue of his office (the notary analogy).
I'm with Louis and the multi'named Cumgranissalis -- until we see a wrong act, that he is paid for it is no evidence of wrongdoing.
Heck, even as recently as a few years back it was neither illegal nor immoral for an MP to pose questions in Parliament on behalf of a client!

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Tips- 'To Insure Perfected Service ', in those it be days paid in advance.

language hat  •  Link

"Tips- 'To Insure Perfected Service'"

You're just trying to yank my chain, aren't you? Well, it's not going to work. (I hope there's no one out there who believes this derivation! Aside from modern terms like "radar," words do not come from acronyms.)

dave: I'm glad you got genial! I really wasn't trying to lump the entire century together as a single historic period, just pointing out that our ideas of "bribery" can't be pushed that far back in time.

david ross mcirvine  •  Link

The problem is certainly older than that, and nomenclature is loose. Is
there a usual word for any of this? I'm happy to breezily call it bribery, though alternate suggestions are welcome. And it is mysterious where the present infusion of cash came from (I suspect Portsmouth, actually).

The tendency of government officials to
earn more than their legitimate "pay" (my choice for what Sam gets on the books) or "salary" or "wages" has long been an ethical issue. Remembering that the soldiers in Roman Palestine were as much military police as anything else,
here's a bit from the 3d chapter of the Gospel according to St. Luke, in the version Sam would know:

"And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages."

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

If it fits, you must convict, else so pleese elucidate, the saxon or jute or angle connection. From the 'rong side of the tracks, my take:
The roudy young gents tippling their morning juices of strong waters were tipping over their Servers, and a loud Laud doth say " their good man, iv'e tipped thou in to the gutter let that be your tip." so every morn there after they would josh "have ye given ye server his tip yet?'
To tip, oh! when oh! when did it become to tip monies in to the pot to get a window seat or sit with baited breath, near the honey tongue speaker.
OE Taeper tap: tippen? to over turn [the coffee waiter to see his change], or tip or tilt [as a fart[h]ing be rubbish ], therefore to tip on the floor or be it the pointed end of pen that marks the tablet..
Maybe the word [tip] needed a good explanation for it's use and one wit came up with a good reason for dropping his fart[h]ings in to the pewter mug.

Australian Susan  •  Link

As the Bible has been brought into this discussion, let us remember the "publicans" (KJV) in the Gsopels. These were tax collectors, but the tax system was "farmed" by the ROmans: i.e. someone paid to have the right to gather the taxes. They did not get any pay, they were expected to make ends meet by adding something on top of the tax they had to hand over to the miltary government. This was a recognised system and the tax collectors had to add extra onto the taxes they collected as this was their income. However, they were vilified in the Gospels (written remember by persons from a conquered population)for making too much money and for being part of the miltary machine which controlled the country. Jesus was held in contempt by the Pharasaical sect for consorting with whores and tax collectors (both equally condemned by these 1st century Puritans). He even recruited one of them into his inner circle (Levi/Matthew).See Mark 2:13-17. The Gospels are full of discussions about money, wages, fairness and so on. The problems arose then as in the 17th century (and later) by having a system which was open to corruption (e.g. the tax farming) - if you were not scrupulous, the system would be abused as checks, balances and law did not exist then to deal with this. Sam is, I think, on the whole scrupulous - he does not question the systems, granted, but he does not exploit them beyond the normal standard.

language hat  •  Link

Excellent comment, Susan.
That's exactly the kind of thing I had in mind.

dirk  •  Link

tips & bribes

tip: from Middle English tippe, a tap, perhaps of Low German origin

bribe: Middle English, from Old French, piece of bread given as alms

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
(Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company)

I find these derivations interesting. The associated images of "opening the tap and letting it drip a little", and "giving alms" are enlightening. Also the word bakchich (see above - Lingua Franca) has no negative associations in the Middle East.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: Tipping and Samuel and bribes, oh my

Folks, I love the banter of this group ... ain't many places on the Web where I can learn so much from so much discussion about four sentences that describe a day from 340+ years ago.

That said, my English teacher(s) would be appalled at the level of conjecture that prompted all this discussion. Where exactly did we get the info that Sam made some money under the table recently? I've been looking back at previous posts, and haven't been able to see any evidence of this. Given that he usually isn't shy about noting in the diary gifts/favors given to him in the line of duty, I wonder if perhaps we're tipping over the edge with this line of thought...

david mcirvine  •  Link

"Where exactly did we get the info that Sam made some money under the table recently?"

Just after he came back from Portsomouth he was paying debts (and hadn't been paid since feb 28, as Clement noted) and his wife went shopping. May as well thrown in the five shillings for a medical amenity (the letting) as well: looked like Sam was flush.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Reading this diary, be like reading the Times of London or any other Published gazatteer; must be taken with a grain of pepper [else speculate]. This is only one facit of the writer. One would want to be a fly on the navy walls to see and hear another facit of the Man. and what he doth speake of. I'm very sure he has many words with Eliza but doth not speak of them, probably the daily regurgitations that one usually spews forth. We have very few clues to hs real day.
Just like a modern wife gets,the in depth answer to the wifes question of the day.THE Q.? so the poor wife has to read the tea leaves and crows feet in inorder to navigate the evening activities.
P.S.. another shot of finding the meaning of the waitress tip.
Could it come from this :
" Tippling houses" had increased to forty, and were restricted to that number.
The number of "tippling-houses" increased to eighty, besides great inns and. taverns; and in 1705 augmented to 120.
The left over tipler?


Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"a little bribe-taking"

To BRIBE, to corrupt with Gifts.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1724.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

The OED has:

‘bribe n. . . Etym: Bribe noun and verb . . appear together in Chaucer . . : their previous history is obscure. Old French had bribe in sense of ‘piece of bread . . ’, esp.[one] ‘ . . giuen vnto a beggar’ . .

The ulterior history is quite unknown; if the sense of Old French bribe is the original, the order of development would appear to have been ‘piece of bread’, ‘alms’, ‘living upon alms’, ‘professional begging’. Hence, apparently from practical association, the English sense ‘to steal, plunder’.

The further history in English is also involved, but appears to be somewhat thus: in bribe (noun) the early sense of ‘theft, plunder, spoil’, appears to have been transferred to the ‘black mail’ or ‘baksheesh’ exacted by governors and judges who abused their positions, and thus to gifts received or given for corrupt purposes, whence the later sense of the verb. The transition is best seen in the agent-noun briber, where we have the series, ‘beggar’, ‘vagabond’, ‘thief’, ‘robber’, ‘extortioner’, ‘exactor of black mail’, and ‘receiver of baksheesh’ . .

. . 2. ‘A reward given to pervert the judgment or corrupt the conduct’ (Johnson).
a. The earlier sense probably regarded it as a consideration extorted, exacted, or taken by an official, a judge, etc.; i.e. as the act of the receiver: cf. briber n.

b. But it is now applied to a consideration voluntarily offered to corrupt a person and induce him to act in the interest of the giver, e.g. a consideration given to a voter to procure his vote.
. . 1616 Shakespeare Coriolanus (1623) i. x. 38, I..cannot make my heart consent to take A Bribe.
1667 S. Pepys Diary 21 May (1974) VIII. 227 His rise hath been his giving of large Bribes.’

So Our Hero knew all about bribery, a practice as old as civilisation.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘tip, v.4 . . Originally Rogues' Cant, of obscure origin. (Possibly related to tip v.1, through the notion of touching lightly, but this is very uncertain.)

. . 2. colloq. (orig. slang). a. To give a gratuity to; to bestow a small present of money upon (an inferior), esp. upon a servant or employee of another, nominally in return for a service rendered or in order to obtain an extra service; also upon a child or schoolboy. Const. with.
1707 G. Farquhar Beaux Stratagem ii. 15 Then I, Sir, tips me the Verger with half a Crown.
. . 1752 H. Fielding Amelia IV. xi. v. 161 He advised his Friend..to begin with tipping (as it is called) the great Man's Servant.’

So whatever douceur or customary present Sam got, he didn’t call it a ‘tip’, a vulgar term not then in use in polite circles or quite likely not in use at all in 1662. And inappropriate in many cases as he was not the inferior of the person for whom he was doing the favour

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