Monday 4 August 1662

Up by four o’clock in the morning and walked to the Dock, where Commissioner Pett and I took barge and went to the guardships and mustered them, finding them but badly manned; thence to the Sovereign, which we found kept in good order and very clean, which pleased us well, but few of the officers on board. Thence to the Charles, and were troubled to see her kept so neglectedly by the boatswain Clements, who I always took for a very good officer; it is a very brave ship. Thence to Upnor Castle, and there went up to the top, where there is a fine prospect, but of very small force; so to the yard, and there mustered the whole ordinary, where great disorder by multitude of servants and old decrepid men, which must be remedied. So to all the storehouses and viewed the stores of all sorts and the hemp, where we found Captain Cocke’s (which he came down to see along with me) very bad, and some others, and with much content (God forgive me) I did hear by the Clerk of the Ropeyard how it was by Sir W. Batten’s private letter that one parcel of Alderman Barker’s was received.

At two o’clock to dinner to the Hill-house, and after dinner dispatched many people’s business, and then to the yard again, and looked over Mr. Gregory’s and Barrow’s houses to see the matter of difference between them concerning an alteration that Barrow would make, which I shall report to the board, but both their houses very pretty, and deserve to be so, being well kept. Then to a trial of several sorts of hemp, but could not perform it here so well as at Woolwich, but we did do it pretty well.

So took barge at the dock and to Rochester, and there Captain Cocke and I and our two men took coach about 8 at night and to Gravesend, where it was very dark before we got thither to the Swan; and there, meeting with Doncaster, an old waterman of mine above bridge, we eat a short supper, being very merry with the drolling, drunken coachman that brought us, and so took water. It being very dark, and the wind rising, and our waterman unacquainted with this part of the river, so that we presently cast upon the Essex shore, but got off again, and so, as well as we could, went on, but I in such fear that I could not sleep till we came to Erith, and there it begun to be calm, and the stars to shine, and so I began to take heart again, and the rest too, and so made shift to slumber a little.

Above Woolwich we lost our way, and went back to Blackwall, and up and down, being guided by nothing but the barking of a dog, which we had observed in passing by Blackwall, and so… [continued tomorrow. P.G.]

44 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F.  •  Link

Another chance for Sam to pray for divine mercy:
"with much content (God forgive me) I did hear by the Clerk of the Ropeyard how it was by Sir W. Batten's private letter that one parcel of Alderman Barker's was received.”

L&M note: “It was probably this hemp to which Coventry referred in a letter to Pepys (3 March 1665) as ‘bad hemp’ bought of Barker ‘by some of our own eyes’:….On 28 July 1662 the Board had ordered Carteret not to pay the £1000 still owing to Barker for his Milan and Riga hemp until he had provided securities for the completion of his contract….Cf. Pepys’s recent suspicions of Batten’s collusion with the flagmakers.” Tuesday 29 July 1662…

Glyn  •  Link

As we leave Pepys at midnight, he is still sailing home, half-asleep. Obviously this entry was written up on the 5th.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"and there it begun to be calm, and the stars to shine"
Oh my God, it sounds so poetic!!...

Bradford  •  Link

"to Upnor Castle, and there went up to the top, where there is a fine prospect, but of very small force;"

What is the sigifnicance of "force" here? You can't see very far? (Why?) Or, not much room for men taking up a defensive position on top?

The motif "with much content (God forgive me) I did hear" something bad about someone (usually Batten) recalls what I have heard called a New England conscience: strong enough to trouble you, but not strong enough to make you change.

Terry F.  •  Link

"Upnor Castle [at]…the top…there is a fine prospect, but of very small force;"

Bradford, you ask a keen question: “What is the sigifnicance of 'force' here?…Or, not much room for men taking up a defensive position on top?”

An L&M note suggests this: “Upnor Castle, on the left bank of the Medway, a little downstream from Chatham, had been built under Elizabeth for the defense of the river. Ineffective against the invading Dutch fleet of 1667, it was much strengthened afterwards. By 1719 there were three smaller forts attached to it….”

= It was obvious to Pepys that its armament was dated?

Terry F.  •  Link

Or not "much room for" such arms as could command the river (your wording is better than mine).

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Would Sam's skillful observation at Upnor been noted and heeded...

Sam's growing pride in "his" ships is sweet to behold.

Terry F.  •  Link

Is Commissioner Pett still with Mr. Pepys?

They seem to have been sharing views; and even if Pett agreed on this, the experience of 1667 suggests it wasn't "heeded".
Were they both preoccupied with the ships?

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

QU: pull strenth : two teams of horse/donkeys/men did a tug of war till the rope did snap?
If it be men, did they just add men til the deed be done, then this hemp have 10 man strong? or would it be more practical, useing a winch to haul a anchor, and counting the number of land lubbers it took to get the snap judgement?
"...Then to a trial of several sorts of hemp, but could not perform it here so well...": not enough horses?

Australian Susan  •  Link

Upnor Castle
Anyone else been there? I was amazed to see how narrow the river is there and, therefore, how brzen the Dutch were in sailing up it! Or maybe the river has narrowed since the 1660s. The description of the mustering of the company ("old decrepid men") sounds like something out of a discworld novel or a Dickens one. Very animated entry today - lots of purposeful activity. Sam in his element - looking at things, finding the problems and getting things done, but he was in real danger when the waterman got lost - the currents are very dangerous there.

dirk  •  Link

"Then to a trial of several sorts of hemp..."

When we say hemp, we think of ropes first - and indeed "An average cargo, clipper, whaler, or naval ship of the line, in the 16th, 17th, 18th, or 19th centuries carried 50 to 100 tons of cannabis hemp rigging, not to mention the sails, nets, etc., and needed it all replaced every year or two, due to salt rot."

But also the sails were made of that material: "Ninety percent of all ships' sails (... until late-19th century) were made from hemp." For "hemp is softer than cotton, more water absorbent than cotton, has three times the tensile strength of cotton and is many times more durable than cotton." "The word "canvas" is the Dutch pronunciation (twice removed, from French and Latin) of the Greek word "Kannabis."

"Incredibly, it cost more for a ship's hempen sails, ropes, etc. than it did to build the wooden parts."…

Interesting note: ropes were not only used for cables and rigging, but also to absorb the recoil of the guns (breeching rope).…

Pauline  •  Link

"Above Woolwich we lost our way, and went back to Blackwall, and up and down..."
Does this mean they lost ground--and track of how much? The only Blackwall I can find is on the east side of the Isle of Dog, upriver from Woolwich--so "back to blackwall" doesn't make sense to me. Anyone have a handle on this?

Dirk, your hemp info is very very interesting, thank you.

Dave Bell  •  Link

I'm reminded that "hemp" was a word that covered a range of natural fibres. See the first annotation for a reference to Riga as a source, the Baltic. So Sam isn't just comparing different qualities of the same plant fibre, he'd probably comparing fibres from different plant species.

But you can get cannabis to grow surprisingly far north, so Riga Hemp might still be from a variety of that plant. Though the chemistry might not be so interesting.

But if somebody supplies a dud batch, is Sam going to ensure it gets burned in the presence of high officials?

Mary  •  Link

"above Woolwich we lost our way"

Strictly speaking "above Woolwich" could refer to any stretch of the river upstream of Woolwich. The distance between Woolwich and Blackwall is not very great. Perhaps Pepys means that, having rounded the tip of the Greenwich peninsula, which is itself only a short distance upstream of Woolwich, they missed their way and found themselves back near Blackwall (at the tip of the peninsula) rather than further on, at Deptford, for example.

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

"above Woolwich we lost our way"
I took this to mean that they "lost way" in the nautical sense, ie lost forward motion. The combination of a fickle wind and a tidal river could easily result in them going backwards - also the current is usually stronger in the middle of the stream so getting closer to the bank might take them forward again for a while. Or "up and down".

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

Fascinating information about hemp, Dirk. If it was so costly, and needed replacing so often, there would huge temptations for the buyers and sellers to adjust the price or the quality and pocket the difference.

Tom Burns  •  Link

Wow! What a journey!

This is the first continued entry I have seen since I have been reading the diary. It makes me wonder about Pepys' routine for making entries; did he write every day, or did he write several days worth at a time? Does anyone have any information about this?

Rex Gordon  •  Link

Sam's routine for making entries ...

He would keep notes of a day's events and, when a quiet hour or two came, record them in shorthand in the Diary. There were times when he wouldn't get around to updating the Diary from the notes for several weeks, as, for instance, when he made his first sea voyage to Holland.

Rex Gordon  •  Link

Routine, continued ...

So sometimes he wrote daily, other times several days' worth.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

A little background on the cannon recoil problem at sea...…

One can imagine the strain as the cannons recoiled after each shot...And what poor quality hemp would mean to the gun crews and sailors.

Don McCahill  •  Link

being very merry with the drolling, drunken coachman that brought us

Apprarently we have yet to enter the breathalyzer age.

Nix  •  Link

Upnor Castle in Upper Upnor --

And people wonder where P.G. Wodehouse came up with all those names.

language hat  •  Link

Dirk's link is interesting...
...but untrustworthy. (I mean, how far can you trust "" for historical information? *toke* "Dude, I suddenly realized EVERYTHING is made of pot!!" *toke*)

As far as etymology is concerned, I don't know where they got the "Dutch" stuff. The OED says:

"ME. canevas, a. ONF. canevas (Central OF. chanevas) = Pr. canabas, Sp. ca?amazo, It. canavaccio:?late L. type *cannabāceus ?hempen?, f. cannabis hemp. (From Lat. adjs. in -āceus were made, in Romanic, adjs. and ns. of augm. and pejorative force, e.g. L. populus, populāce-us, It. popolaccio, Eng. populace.) The word has entered into most of the European langs.”

Ruben  •  Link

being very merry with the drolling, drunken coachman that brought us

Why worry? The horses were in charge! and they probably knew the way to the barn better than the coachman

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"and there it begun to be calm and the stars to shine"
On second thought Sam was probably commenting on the weather condition for sailing; he is to down to earth to entertain poetic thoughts; more Sancho Panza than Don Quijote.

Terry F.  •  Link

language hat, etymology aside, the politics of hemp strong in THC is a part of its history. Actually the historical information @ "" is rather reliable, and it was the case that many things were was made of hemp. Cf. a website devoted to the now-named "industrial hemp":

"16th-18th Century: Hemp was a major fiber crop in Russia, Europe and North America. Ropes and sails were made of hemp because of its great strength and its resistance to rotting. Hemp's other historical uses were of course paper (bibles, government documents, bank notes) and textiles (paper, canvas), but also paint, printing inks, varnishes, and building materials."

Interlude: Pauline on Capt. George Cocke (c.1617-76). Baltic merchant and navy contractor, of London and Greenwich; a native of Newcastle upon Tyne (which played an important part in trade to Scandinavia). He was an influential member of the Eastland Company, dealt extensively in hemp and owned a tannery in Limerick.…

Resuming: "Hemp was a major crop until the 1920's, supplying the world with its main supply of food and fiber (80% of clothing was made from Hemp).[...]1943: Both the US and German governments urge their patriotic farmers to grow hemp for the war effort. The US shows farmers a short film - 'Hemp for Victory' which the government later pretends never existed [but can be seen online, just like "Reefer Madnes"]. The United States government has published numerous reports and other documents on hemp dating back to the beginnings of [the USA].
1945: The war ends and so does "hemp for victory". Feral hemp, "ditch weed", still lines the back roads, waterways, and irrigation ditches of most Midwestern states [and here, in Kentucky], 60 years descended from "hemp for victory!"
"The website may be the most complete and concise discussion of industrial hemp on the web. Hemphasis magazine is the only hemp-centered journal currently published (in a print medium) in North America, to our knowledge."

Australian Susan  •  Link

Lovely pictures, Dirk, and it shows the narrowness of the river. There is a great view from the Gazebo. Robert - thanks to you too fro the description of naval battle.

dirk  •  Link

"Lovely pictures, Dirk"

Susan, could it be that you got me mixed up with "diphi"? The pictures I think you're referring to are his, not mine...

Australian Susan  •  Link

Sorry, dirk, must be the hemp.......

Dave Bell  •  Link

As an ex-farmer, I can confirm that industrial hemp is actively been grown in Europe. There's some restrictions imposed by the UK government -- they want to keep track of what's being grown -- but it's a useful crop if you have the right sort of soil. For one thing, it smothers weeds and has little need for pesticides.

That's a feature of the crop which would have been useful to farmers in Sam's day.

It's mostly puffery but the Hemcore website at is from one of the UK companies which started the revival.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

I have a shirt made of 60%hemp,40%cotton; I don't get high when I wear it though.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Hemp for cloth is grown here in Australia.

Peg  •  Link

1. Thanks to diphi for a lovely website.
2. LOVE Sam's use of the word "drolling."
3. My current jeans are part hemp. They are just about indestructible and quite comfy in all seasons. Like A.De A's shirt, they do not cause drolling.

Ima Fake  •  Link

"The pupil of impulse, it forc'd him along,
His conduct still right, with his argument wrong;
Still aiming at honor, yet fearing to roam,
The coachman was tipsy, the chariot drove home."

Oliver Goldsmith

A. De Araujo  •  Link

What is the etymology of Upnor?

language hat  •  Link

More non-news on Upnor:
I got excited when I googled some more and found a page labeled "Some Events in Upnor History":…

Alas, when you go there, it says:
"still waiting for someone to write this..."

Poor Upnor!

A. De Araujo  •  Link

Thanks anyway Language Hat

Second Reading

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘droll, v. < obsolete French drôler ‘to play the wag’, etc. . .
1. intr. To make sport or fun; to jest, joke; to play the buffoon. Const. with, at, on, upon.
. . 1665 Earl of Marlborough Fair Warnings 19 There was no greater argument of a foolish and inconsiderate person, than profanely to droll at Religion.
. . 1680 Vindic. Conforming Clergy (ed. 2) 32 An Author..that drolls with every thing.

. . drolling n. . .
1670 G. Havers tr. G. Leti Il Cardinalismo di Santa Chiesa i. i. 19 [They] use but drolling and impertinence in their Arguments . . ‘

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"so to the yard, and there mustered the whole ordinary"

L&M: The muster-book made on this occasion, mostly in a clerk's hand, with a few notes in Pepys's, is in Rawl. A187, ff. 321+. Pepys and Pett charged £6 5s. for their traveling expenses: PRO, Adm. 20/3, p. 63.

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