Wednesday 13 August 1662

Up early, and to my office, where people come to me about business, and by and by we met on purpose to enquire into the business of the flag-makers, where I am the person that do chiefly manage the business against them on the King’s part; and I do find it the greatest cheat that I have yet found; they having eightpence per yard allowed them by pretence of a contract, where no such thing appears; and it is threepence more than was formerly paid, and than I now offer the Board to have them done. We did not fully end it, but refer it to another time.

At noon Commr. Pett and I by water to Greenwich, and on board the pleasure-boats to see what they wanted, they being ordered to sea, and very pretty things I still find them, and so on shore and at the Shipp had a bit of meat and dined, there waiting upon us a barber of Mr. Pett’s acquaintance that plays very well upon the viollin. Thence to Lambeth; and there saw the little pleasure-boat in building by the King, my Lord Brunkard, and the virtuosoes of the town, according to new lines, which Mr. Pett cries up mightily, but how it will prove we shall soon see.

So by water home, and busy at my study late, drawing a letter to the yards of reprehension and direction for the board to sign, in which I took great pains. So home and to bed.

20 Annotations

dirk  •  Link

Today the official foundation of the "Royal Society" - Evelyn's diary:

"To Lond. Our Charter being now passed under the Broad-Seale, constituting us a Corporation under the Name of the Royal-Society, for the improvement of naturall knowledge by Experiment: to Consist of a President, Council, Fellows, Secretaries, Curators, Operators, Printer, Graver & other officers, with power to make laws, purchasse land, have a peculiar Seale & other immunities & privileges &c: as at large appears in our Graunt, was this day read, & was all that was don this afternoone, it being very large:"

dirk  •  Link

"they having eightpence per yard allowed them by pretence of a contract, where no such thing appears; and it is threepence more than was formerly paid"

It appears the flagmakers granted themselves a raise. Comes along that annoying man from London...

Terry F.  •  Link

"how it will prove we shall soon see."

L&M note: "The Jemmy (25 tons); for her race again the Dutch yacht [Bezan] see [September 5]. She was built by Commissioner Pett. The Royal Society [of "virtuosos"] appears to have had no part in this enterprise."

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

"...Shipp ..." be a pub or be it afloat?

Mary  •  Link

Flagmakers, hemp suppliers, timber merchants, dockyards.....

Pepys is energetically pursuing his role as the new broom. He must be feeling very sure of his position to be stirring up so many potential hornets' nests at the same time.

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

John Evelyn.
Thanks for the link, Grain o' salt. Another character in our 17th century soap opera.

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

Pleasure boats.
Does anyone have any information on these? They sound a bit like a Ferrari - a combination of status symbol and performance - with the former being the most important.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

"drawing a letter to the yards of reprehension and direction for the board to sign"

Meaning? I take "yards" to mean shipyards, and "reprehension" to suggest that the yards are being warned against paying more than the market price for goods, and being warned to test offerings for quality. But who knows?

Terry F.  •  Link

A. Hamilton your take on "drawing a letter to the yards of reprehension and direction for the board to sign" sounds almost right ro me, save reprehension also means “rebuke: an act or expression of criticism and censure,”… pretty strong stuff from the Navy Office, perhaps an indication that remedies (orders for repayment and more) are on tap.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Hmmn. Sam's offering the board his own flagmaking deal, eh? Interesting. Not that I'm suggesting it wouldn't be a better deal than the current one for the Navy. I wonder who would be turning them out? Dad? Some lucky 'friend' of Sam's?

Image of Elisabeth, Jane, and a truly pissed Will Hewer...Damn there was not a thing about sewin' flags in my clerkship papers...Diligently sewing away at Pepys.

"Letters of reprehension..." The dynamic Sam and Mr. Coventry did find things very amiss the other day, the letters could include a stiff rebuke on that score-negligence and sloth, as well as the others mentioned above.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"And the money came rolling in...From everywhere..."

"Sam's little arms reached out and they reached wide...Now, you may think the flag deal should have been opened to the best bid. But that's not point my friend..."

"When Duty is being done, you don't ask questions. You can tell our boy's done well by Coventry's approving looks. Now you may think a little of the cash might go...astray. But that's not the point, my friend..."

(If you don't tell Lloyd Webber, I won't...)

Australian Susan  •  Link

Isn't Sir William B going to have a lot to talk over with Sir William P when he returns from Ireland!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

And wouldn't one like to be there to see Sir Will P's cherubic face turn beet red?

David A. Smith  •  Link

"I do find it the greatest cheat that I have yet found"
The righteousness of the young and newly empowered. I think the diary serves in part to allow Sam to vocalize to himself what things really are, or what he thinks they are, without having to mind his language. That's part of what makes it so fresh.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Letters of reprehension to the reprehensible: a wonderful (to me) new word! :D

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The flag issue has been brewing for a while: Tuesday 29 July 1662 -- This morning among other things I broached the business of our being abused about flags, which I know doth trouble Sir W. Batten, but I care not. ... and in the evening walked to Deptford (Cooper with me talking of mathematiques) ... and to see the difference between the flags sent in now-a-days, and I find the old ones, which were much cheaper, to be wholly as good. So I took one of a sort with me, and Mr. Wayth accompanying of me a good way, talking of the faults of the Navy, ...

Dick Wilson  •  Link

Sarah, there are two kinds of "flag abuse". Here, it is the unwarranted overcharge of the King by greedy flag vendors. One suspects that they had been paying kickbacks to the Old Navy Board, and probably expected to do the same for the New Board, including Sam. Sam's attitude probably came as a nasty shock to them.
In Sam's day, corruption was taking too much, while taking too little was stupidity. A 60% increase in price was too much.
The other kind of "flag abuse" was people not saluting them, especially Dutch people.

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