Friday 29 August 1662

Up betimes and among my workmen, where I did stay with them the greatest part of the morning, only a little at the office, and so to dinner alone at home, and so to my workmen again, finding my presence to carry on the work both to my mind and with more haste, and I thank God I am pleased with it.

At night, the workmen being gone, I went to my office, and among other businesses did begin to-night with Mr. Lewes to look into the nature of a purser’s account, and the business of victualling, in which there is great variety; but I find I shall understand it, and be able to do service there also. So being weary and chill, being in some fear of an ague, I went home and to bed.

23 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F,  •  Link

"businesses did begin to-night with Mr. Lewes to look into the nature of a purser's account, and the business of victualling”

L&M note: “Thomas Lewis had been a clerk of the Victualling Office since the 1650’s. In June 1660 he had been instructed by the Admiral to deliver papers on the victualling to Pepys…. In July the Admiral had addressed two letters to the Board about the importance of pursars’ accounts….Within a few years Pepys (as Surveyor-General, 1665-7) was to reorganise much of the wartime victualling, and to introduce innovations inpursers’ accounts….”

Terry F,  •  Link

Obviously "June 1660" was my typo for June 1662 in the L&M note.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Must have been a very cold August. I bet the workmen were pleased to get home after a day under Sam's beady eye.
And now he is learning all about victualling - you can hear the pleasure in his tone: "in which there is great variety, but I shall understand it, and be able to do service there also." He will be master of all.

Australian Susan  •  Link

The Tyrannicide Brief by Geoffery Robertson (I will put this is background reading as well)
New book by a barrister (and a whole lot more as well!) on John Cook, the barrister who prosecuted Charles I. Amazon link…
It is always good to get a book written by someone who is in the same business and an excellent author too. Rather like Ranulph Fiennes writing about Captain Scott (he can write things like "When I was climbing the Beardmore Glacier, I found....").Robertson can think his way into a fellow barrister's mindset. Many of the people in this book are around still in the 1660s.

Terry F,  •  Link

Most of today with his workmen "finding my presence to carry on the work both to my mind and with more haste" -- Contrast four days ago, on Tuesday, when "with great pleasure seeing them go on merrily, and a good many hands, which I perceive makes good riddance" -- and off to other busyness.…

Today an onsite manager, tweaking here and there, applying to the remodelling what he has begun to practice at the Dockyards.

What an appetite for detail and micromanaging our Sam displays (and ordering others about); which he judges favorably, while perhaps we, with his workmen might wonder?!

And as Australian Susan remarks, now he is intent of mastering victualling.

But what he will accomplish for the Navy!

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Amazing, Samuell be not of puritanical leanings yet here he is ready to clean out the Temple/Aegean stables. I would like to understand why Samuell take this path rather than the standard path and keep his hand behind his back collecting the benefits. Majority do not wish to knock the hands that feed them. So rare, even today to find one that will change the system if it ain't broke and be not caught.
The concept that there be a standard pay for for work in progress rather than skimming ye rewards based on thru put? It was the done thing to buy a job based on the pickings, yet here he be changing the modus operandi, yet he still accepts the sinecure position of the Tangiers.
Maybe he remembers a line from Cato's Praeda Miltibus Dividenda, XI, 3.
Fures privatorium in nervo atque in compedibus aetatem agunt; fures publici in auro atque in purpura.
Then theres the one about stealing the goose from the commons and he he that steals the commons from the goose.

Thieves who steal from the private citizens spend their lives in the nick; thieves who steal from public funds spend theirs in gold and purple.

Dave Bell  •  Link

I think we're seeing some of the effects of Sam's exposure to Puritanism in his youth. We may, today, see a sinecure as somehow dishonest, but if you pay Sam for the issue of some official document, at the official rate, he's going to deliver. He's not going to give you short measure.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

and so to my workmen again

It is now going on seven weeks since the workmen began (on July 14) removing the roof to install a new story to Sam's dwelling.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"there is great variety; but I find I shall understand it"
Ceaseless energy.
Constant willingness to fling himself into new areas.
Ability to learn.
The intellectual humility not to presume he knows before he asks.
Emerging commitment to efficiency even in the face of patronage.

Why Sam succeeded in life ....

Bradford  •  Link

All this application to master a post whose indirect intention is to honor a King who is going to prove a major sprat.

Araucaria  •  Link

Suddenly I think I understand why Sam spends so much time with the workmen.

These days, the general contractor for a major remodel usually has the blueprints and a full spec sheet.

But back then, I would imagine that even if there was a written list of instructions or drawings, some of the workmen were illiterate, so frequent course correction would be required.

Ann  •  Link

This is the second day in a row when Sam finds himself "in fear of an ague." Australian Susan speculates this must have been a very cold August. I'm wondering if this is so? And, what is the typical weather for August in London at this time? Does this have anything to do with the calendar being off from our calendar of today?

Maurie Beck  •  Link

Suddenly I think I understand why Sam spends so much time with the workmen.

I don't think it's changed all that much. There are still busy bodies who can't let the contractors work without their two cents and there are lazy contractors who need someone to ride them or they will be off surfing.

Ramona Higer  •  Link

Mr. Pepys is in short a marvel. It is his sheer energy and intelligence and curiousity that drives him. All that he does, and yet he makes the time to keep a daily diary. Dare I challenge you to keep a diary for even one month to more fully appreciate his disparate talents? Ah, too busy.

dirk  •  Link

this must have been a very cold August?

Not really. Temperatures were about normal (cfr infra). It may have been a wet August though.

Monthly average temperatures for August

(Year - Celsius - Farenheit)
1659 - 16 - 61
1660 - 16 - 61
1661 - 15 - 59
1662 - 15 - 59
1663 - 15 - 59
1664 - 16 - 61
1665 - 15 - 59

Monthly Mean Central England Temperature (degrees C) 1659-1973…

A. Hamilton  •  Link

The perception of cold is relative.

I remember a rare chilly winter day in Havana c. 1949 when the temp. fell to 15 C. All the ladies of the town who could do so came out covered in fur.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Yes - I am sure if I went back to a UK winter, I would f-f-f-freeze! And when I was back in the UK last "summer", I wore my Queensland "winter" wardrobe.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Sam and being chilled.
On a less frivolous note.He is always worried about this because of the circumstances surrounding the first time he passed a stone from kidney to bladder (one of the worst pains to endure). It was when he was a student at Cambridge and had been for a walk on a hot day out into the countryside. He and the fellow students he was with, refreshed themselves with large amounts of freshly drawn very cold spring water. Sam was convinced, as the stone-passing happened just after this, that chilling his kidneys was a factor, so he becomes obsessive about getting chilly in that region: remember all his references to wearing or not wearing extra waistcoats - this really matters to him. He does not want to risk his health.

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

"back then, I would imagine that even if there was a written list of instructions or drawings, some of the workmen were illiterate, so frequent course correction would be required"

In my experience of dealing with workmen on my house, illiteracy has nothing to do with the necessity for this!

Terry F  •  Link

Being chilled can engender catching a cold

Sam has at times put extra clothes on in cold weather, also when sleeping, which, it turns out is prudent: new research shows mothers' advice correct, and the conventional modern medical view mistaken.

Monday, November 14, 2005 Posted: 1129 GMT
"British researchers into the common cold say 'catching a chill' really does help colds develop -- and are advising to 'wrap up warm' to keep viruses at bay."…

Second Reading

Gerald Berg  •  Link

Avg 15 C for Aug. and that ain't cold? Dirk must be from England. Probably down to 9 C. overnight. Coupled with a reluctance to start up the fireplace in the morning? Freezing!

Bill  •  Link

Gerald makes a good point here as does the encyclopedia entry on weather:…

The Wikipedia entry on the "Little Ice Age" has this sentence: "The NASA Earth Observatory notes three particularly cold intervals: one beginning about 1650..."

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