Thursday 31 July 1662

Up early and among my workmen, I ordering my rooms above, which will please me very well. So to my office, and there we sat all the morning, where I begin more and more to grow considerable there. At noon Mr. Coventry and I by his coach to the Exchange together; and in Lumbard-street met Captain Browne of the Rosebush: at which he was cruel angry: and did threaten to go to-day to the Duke at Hampton Court, and get him turned out because he was not sailed. But at the Exchange we resolved of eating a bit together, which we did at the Ship behind the Exchange, and so took boat to Billingsgate, and went down on board the Rosebush at Woolwich, and found all things out of order, but after frightening the officers there, we left them to make more haste, and so on shore to the yard, and did the same to the officers of the yard, that the ship was not dispatched. Here we found Sir W. Batten going about his survey, but so poorly and unlike a survey of the Navy, that I am ashamed of it, and so is Mr. Coventry. We found fault with many things, and among others the measure of some timber now serving in which Mr. Day the assistant told us of, and so by water home again, all the way talking of the office business and other very pleasant discourse, and much proud I am of getting thus far into his books, which I think I am very much in.

So home late, and it being the last day of the month, I did make up my accounts before I went to bed, and found myself worth about 650l., for which the Lord God be praised, and so to bed.

I drank but two glasses of wine this day, and yet it makes my head ake all night, and indisposed me all the next day, of which I am glad. I am now in town only with my man Will and Jane, and because my house is in building, I do lie at Sir W. Pen’s house, he being gone to Ireland. My wife, her maid and boy gone to Brampton. I am very well entered into the business and esteem of the office, and do ply it close, and find benefit by it.

39 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F.  •  Link

"Captain Browne did threaten to go... to the Duke..., and get him turned out because he was not sailed."
L&M note:"To Jamaica."
I take it "get him turned out" means "get his backing"? Pepys to the defense of the Navy Board!

Australian Susan  •  Link

It's more of the same, isn't it? Sam is either really on a winning streak with Coventry and Carteret or riding for a fall with the rest of the Navy Office - alienating most of the Yards' staff as well! I wonder how much of the indignant self-righteousness, gleeful priggishness and smug self-satisfaction he shows in the recent diary entries is actually being manifest in his exchanges with people?

We now know where all the staff are - it's faithful Jane who is in the damp muddle of the Pepys house and Sarah (with Wayneman) who has gone off to Brampton. The term "her maid" sounds like a personal, ladies' maid to me and I had thought Sarah to be more of a kitchen maid, empty the chamber pots, fetch the wood kind of servant (or does the boy do these tasks?)with whom Elizabeth had not been on the best of terms. Have they maybe got a more expensive maid to wait on Elizabeth? Can't really see Elizabeth and Sarah being bosom friends on the tedious journey to Brampton. With reference to Robert Gertz's wonderful pastiche yesterday, I do wish we did know something of what is going on at Brampton!

Terry F.  •  Link

"We found fault with many things...[i.a.]the measure of some timber now serving in which Mr. Day [Deane] the assistant told us of,..."
L&M note: "On 30 October [yesterday] the timber-measurers at both Deptford and Woolwich were dismissed and the work given to the storekeepers."
Sounds like Sam already has more than one ally.

Bradford  •  Link

"much proud I am of getting thus far into his [good] books, which I think I am very much in."

---with that addition, the idiom is still in use today.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

A good time to consult Tomalin as to events in Brampton...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Not a word of criticism for Coventry from our boy to date, I notice, except that one rather positive comment a while back that Mr. C would be "prying into accounts" (ie overpadded expense accounts). Naturally York's secretary can do no wrong but one would think in his current mood Sam would drop in a snide remark or two if there was anything to comment on. Has our boy found his new hero?

dirk  •  Link

John Evelyn's diary today:

"I sate with the Commissioners about reforming the buildings & streetes of London, & we ordered the Paving of the Way from st. James's north, which was a quagmire, & also of the Hay-market about Piqudillo, and agreed upon Instructions to be printed & published for the better-keeping the Streetes cleane: so returnd home:”

Terry F.  •  Link

"I drank but two glasses of wine this day, and yet it makes my head ake all night, and indisposed me all the next day, of which I am glad." Mayhap mañana I will stick by my Sunday Oaths. [If at first he thought to pass of his drinking as a function of the happy mtg. with Capt. Browne, as an afterthought on a day when he was a busy-body/control-freak, begun with ordering his house remodeled, when Sam records this [next day?], the “ake” has brought him a tad of humility (?) ended with reviewing the order of his “house” (family) beyond his control.]

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Coventry and Brown(e)
I read this incident differently from Terry F. I think the "he" that was "cruel angry" was Coventry, angry at Browne because he had not yet sailed the Rosebush for Jamaica as he was supposed to. Coventry threatened to go to the Duke (James) and have Browne dismissed from his command ("turned out") for dereliction of duty. Then over lunch Coventry and Pepys decided to go check on the ship, and found her unready for sea ("all things out of order"). They put a scare into the officers, on the ship and in the yard, deciding that that was the most effective way to get things in order and the ship under way.

Xjy  •  Link

Coventry and Brown(e)
I agree with Paul's reading, but it isn't easy to follow. I think it's cleared up by the visit to the yard to check Browne's reasons, which turn out to be valid.

Terry F.  •  Link

Thankd you Paul Chapin, for resolving who was "cruel angry" = Coventry: that makes sense of that passage. Good read!

Terry F.  •  Link

Aye Xjy, Coventry was angry at Browne, threatening to appeal to the Duke to get him turned out because he hadn't sailed; but he had not sailed in good part because the yard was in a mess because of the state of the staff. (BTW, for the dismissal of the timber measurers, L&M reference Duke of York, Mem. (naval) pp. 61-2.) Thanks to you and Paul Chapin, we will get this straight.

Terry F.  •  Link

Robert Gertz, Brown exonerated, Sam hugs Coventry; is it because he -- or was it also Coventry or them both --engaged in "frightening the officers there"?

Terry F.  •  Link

I take it that the "we" who "resolved of eating a bit together, which we did at the Ship behind the Exchange," are the Dynamic Duo. ?! Currying favor with Coventry, who is a welcome cover for Sam's own agenda!?

Pauline  •  Link

Captain Browne of the Rosebush
Note that he is married to or marries a sister of Sir William Batten.

Xjy  •  Link

Captain Browne of the Rosebush
Pauline: "Note that he is married to or marries a sister of Sir William Batten."
Hm, interesting. But Sam isn't working on Batten for his seamanship or marine record, but because he's no good as an administrator and bureaucrat (and also in Sam's way). Batten and the others have a tremendous navy record, it's just that they're not much good as landlubbers. Whereas Sam is the ultimate landlubber and lobby crawler. (OK, he enjoys the odd adventure on the Thames, shooting the white water under the bridge ;-) )

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Yes, Terry I think our Boy Wonder has found his Batman... Though I forgot the one other charge against Honest Marshall er Commissioner Will-His selling of places which I believe was noted by Sam earlier, though that was not apparently considered a major fault. As to exoneration, I don't know that Coventry and Pepys (Pepys anxious to be on that short list team, no doubt) let Browne off completely. They seem to have simply gone after everything that was holding up the ship and found everyone seemed to be stumbling around. Finding the officers on board "in disorder" can hardly be to the ship commander's credit even if the officers of the yard are no better.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Deptford, Royal Navy shipyard...Early afternoon...

A loud crash brought Pepys, midway in his inspection of one of the smaller ships with Coventry and the ships captain, up short. A huge crate had fallen, just to the side of the captain who looked up in rage. Seamen jumping about, a quick apology from the lead man on deck tending the crates with several others…

The captain went up on deck…Heavy shouting and threats with the sounds of men scampering about, bent on seeming at least to look as sharp as possible. The lead man now facing the captain's bellowed accusations of idiocy, incompetence, and neglect alone…

Hmmn…Pepys, who'd been making a study of the hemp rope used in the ships' rigging and for purposes such as securing similar crates, had gone to inspect the crate's hauling ropes.

'Mr Coventry.' he turned to his superior. 'Pon my soul, I believe the hemp rope here has been cut…Look here.' he raised the severed area to view…

'Indeed.' Coventry eyed the rope carefully. 'Most likely by the fellow above on deck. Probably just before we came below for inspection.'

'Sir?' Pepys blinked. 'You are saying this man was deliberately trying to kill his captain?'

Coventry gave a thoughtful look… 'I'm not quite sure. He may have been aiming for one of us.'


'We represent the Navy Board. Not currently very popular with the…Pepys?…' he looked at a Pepys dashing for the ladder to the deck. He heard a cry in Pepys' voice. 'Sergeant of the Guard!!'

Well, good to know the fellow hadn't run off the ship in panic…Still, Coventry sighed to himself. And headed up to the deck. Where at the ship's rail Pepys was frantically waving to several of their assigned guards below on the docks. The large sergeant hurrying over to the rope ladder nearest. The sailors on deck and several of the officers eyeing the rather agitated Clerk of the Acts.

'Pepys!' Coventry moved to him…Pepys turned… 'A word, my boy.' he leaned over the rail and signaled to the rather stout, heavily armored, now-climbing sergeant. 'Just yourself, Banister. We're quite well here, just need a bit of assist in checking something.' He turned back to Pepys who was staring at him…Sir?…

'Come, my friend. We'll explain things to Banister when he reaches us. Which, considering his weight and armor will be some little time.' he led Pepys to a quiet area of the deck…The various sailors eyeing them from their work stations.

'Mr. Pepys…Please understand I am not rebuking you, merely explaining the situation.' Coventry sighed. 'Sir? You just said this was attempted…' 'Pepys…While it is true that some violence to Captain Beale or perhaps us was almost certainly intended. I think it's not to our profit…Or the King's…To make much of this incident.'


'We are all unharmed, Samuel. And the man will not attempt it again…Himself…For fear of being found out…And dealt with…Rather more gruesomely than the reprimand he'll receive today.'

But…Pepys eyed the sailors round the deck…Looking rather grimly at them.

'Pepys, you know as well as I how badly the sailors of his Majesty navy are treated. The impressment of free men, the brutality here and at sea, the lack of pay almost to starvation. Surely you can understand that the men hate everything representing the authorities that have brought them. And their families…To this hideous condition…'

“And yet for all that, they remain, in my opinion, the best seamen in the world. And still display a touching feeling for their country.”

'It is so very difficult to imagine that some of them wish to make an example of a particularly brutal or corrupt captain? Or even of the innocent representatives of the Naval Board…?' Coventry eyed him.


The sergeant of the guard had reached the railing and was huffing as he climbed over…

'I think it's best that…No harm being done…We dismiss this incident as a mere accident. Simply ask Banister to inspect the cable works with you, and I would suggest, one sailor, who can explain…To the general satisfaction…What might have caused such an accident.'


Robert Gertz  •  Link

Oops...Bit longer excerpt from my little fan-fic than I realized, sorry. But hopefully it suits the entry.

Tom Burns  •  Link

I drank but two glasses of wine this day, and yet it makes my head ake all night, and indisposed me all the next day...

Seems a rather extreme reaction unless they were bloody big glasses. I wonder if quality control in the vinter's industry was not what it is today?

A. Hamilton  •  Link

I am very well entered into the business and esteem of the office, and do ply it close, and find benefit by it.

I find this a healthy expression of self-awareness, not an unseemly display (he's writing mainly and perhaps exclusively for himself). He sees that he is capable of ordering the Navy's business better than it has been, he sees that others agree that it should be done, and respect him for his efforts. With this self-knowledge comes authority, which he exercises (in company with the more powerful Coventry) in shaking up the complacent officers of the Rosebush and the dockyard workers at Woolich, and a new readiness to criticize sloppy work. In both the psychological and professional dimensions, Sam is coming into his own.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

"we ordered the Paving of the Way from st. James's north, which was a quagmire, & also of the Hay-market about Piqudillo,”

This quote from John Evelyn, supplied by Dirk, got me to wondering about the origins of Piccadilly, “Piqudillo” being so close in sound to the Spanish “picadillo,” meaning among other things minced meat.(Picadillo is the diminuative form of picado: pricked, pierced, slashed, minced, etc.) OED notes this linkage, but says the word “pickadell” was widely used in the 17th century to refer to perforated material “on the edge of an article of dress, esp. on a collar or ruff,” adding that “the name was app. transferred to the expansive collar fashionable in the early part of the 17th c., which usually had a broad laced or perforated collar.” The street appears to have taken its name from Pickadell Hall, a house in the parish of St. Martins in the Fields dating from before 1622. The house in turn, got its name or nickname either because “it was then the outmost or skirt house in the Suburbs” or because the house belonged to “one Higgins, a Tailor, who … got most of his estate by Pickadilles” (the large collars fashionable at the time). The words within quotation marks are from the OED’s source, Blount, 1656.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

There is enough blame to go around, as the Navy problem stems from that old source, MONEY and its being not enough, and of course the skimming[note: nowt said about using yard sources to build a better mouse trap or leads to walk on].
The ship not being provisioned, the cheese still waiting for the milk.
Logistics be not a science, even now one must watch the flow of the fa[r]things, . Those that can bamboozle their way to get the others to be flummacks, usually win . Coventry is quick in the brain power department, can get answers before the others be digesting the words. [Their will always be very few that care about the organisation, but many care about the linnings of purse.]
So much of the beer tax and other incomes are spent in the grandisement of the Royal party.

edward george xbottom III  •  Link

Can we knock off the "fan fiction"? It powerful sucks.

Miriam  •  Link

Now, now, Hhomeboy, just because no one's offered You a book contract. . . .

Perhaps Sam's wine had been fortified.

Terry F.  •  Link

Compare today's Coventry-dinner with Tuesday's: day before yesterday,"being invited [Sam explained] I went with Sir George and Mr. Coventry to Sir W. Batten's to dinner, and there merry, and very friendly to Sir Wm. and he to me, and complies much with me, but I know he envies me, and I do not value him.” Is there perhaps a leitmotif here? That, I gather, is somewhat under discussion here.

(PS: Robert Gertz, I found the “fan fic” a great enjoyment and plausible: cf. Miriam’s post; perhaps we need a PepysDiary SmartGroups poll?)

Pauline  •  Link

Good one, Miriam!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

It was too long a piece of the larger tale to put here, forgive the self-indulgence, I'm "with child" to see how folks outside my usual posting group for such things like the thing and this piece seemed to fit the entry. I will be more considerate of space limits.

Welcome, Ed...Hope you have more to say about Pepys than that. (No, I won't...You get lost first. Brief tussle, I win...) But I will be more considerate of space limits.)

Don McCahill  •  Link

Re: Fan Fic

I'm not gaining much from (anything) your fan fic either Robert. But if others are, I have no problem with it taking up space. You see, my computer scrolls and scrolls, and never seems to run out of space.

What I like most about the site is the clarification of terms, sometimes by one person, often by committee, that tends to enrich the diary.

Clement  •  Link

Fan fiction
After that bit of cut-rope deduction the image of Coventry wearing a deer stalker and clutching a smoldering briar will forever color my mental image of him.
If I didn't want to read the long post it would have been powerful easy to scroll down.

Pauline  •  Link

'the clarification of terms...that tends to enrich the diary'
I'm with Don McCahill, I scroll on by these Fan Fics, but find RG's straight annotations valuable. The fictions strike me as having a definitive perspective on Sam and, at times, playing loosely with the reading. I'm interested in clarifying the stuff that can be clarified but in allowing the personality and character of Sam to continue to unfold as he reveals himself in writing each day, with a resistance to making Sam in my own image, as a cartoon figure, or as reflecting some image I have of 17th Century life in England. Instead, I like to hold him as a puzzle whose pieces are slowly assembling, trying hard to take him only at his word. (I suppose I will still be here at this point when the diary comes to an end.)

Mary  •  Link

Exactly so, Pauline.

Fictionalising the Life of Sam has its place, but I'm not convinced that that place is amongst these annotations.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

As I say, too long a piece for here but as a part of a much longer tale I couldn't resist crimping it in for a trial with an entry that seemed suitable. (Don't worry, the whole thing will never show here...Sighs of relief.) I'll continue to indulge my littler flights for now though, so long as they're short and don't clog things.

Ruben  •  Link

Robert's annotations (dramatizations)are as good as an ilustration in that they permit to understand situations to people without imagination or not used to extract information from the annotations.
They give another dimension to Sam's personality. Do not deprive us of your skill!

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Ten years on, I'm enjoying Robert's efforts - hope they continue...

Bill  •  Link

"and much proud I am of getting thus far into his books"

To get into ones books, gagner l'affection de quêcun. [to gain the affection of someone]
---A short dictionary English and French. G. Miège, 1684.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

As this is where we speak of it. I avoid all R. Gertz and take Cumgranissalis with a very large grain of salt.

john  •  Link

I do not find Sam's entry today to be priggish or self-satisfying but rather expressing exasperation at finding a project so out of sorts. Things are no longer "business as usual".

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