Friday 5 September 1662

Up by break of day at 5 o’clock, and down by water to Woolwich: in my way saw the yacht lately built by our virtuosoes (my Lord Brunkard and others, with the help of Commissioner Pett also) set out from Greenwich with the little Dutch bezan, to try for mastery; and before they got to Woolwich the Dutch beat them half-a-mile (and I hear this afternoon, that, in coming home, it got above three miles); which all our people are glad of.

Here I staid and mustered the yard and looked into the storehouses; and so walked all alone to Greenwich, and thence by water to Deptford, and there examined some stores, and did some of my own business in hastening my work there, and so walked to Redriffe, being by this time pretty weary and all in a sweat; took boat there for the Tower, which made me a little fearful, it being a cold, windy morning.

So to my lodgings and there rubbed myself clean, and so to Mr. Bland’s, the merchant, by invitation, I alone of all our company of this office; where I found all the officers of the Customs, very grave fine gentlemen, and I am very glad to know them; viz. — Sir Job Harvy, Sir John Wolstenholme, Sir John Jacob, Sir Nicholas Crisp, Sir John Harrison, and Sir John Shaw: very good company. And among other pretty discourse, some was of Sir Jerom Bowes, Embassador from Queene Elizabeth to the Emperor of Russia;1 who, because some of the noblemen there would go up the stairs to the Emperor before him, he would not go up till the Emperor had ordered those two men to be dragged down stairs, with their heads knocking upon every stair till they were killed. And when he was come up, they demanded his sword of him before he entered the room. He told them, if they would have his sword, they should have his boots too. And so caused his boots to be pulled off, and his night-gown and night-cap and slippers to be sent for; and made the Emperor stay till he could go in his night-dress, since he might not go as a soldier. And lastly, when the Emperor in contempt, to show his command of his subjects, did command one to leap from the window down and broke his neck in the sight of our Embassador, he replied that his mistress did set more by, and did make better use of the necks of her subjects but said that, to show what her subjects would do for her, he would, and did, fling down his gantlett before the Emperor; and challenged all the nobility there to take it up, in defence of the Emperor against his Queen: for which, at this very day, the name of Sir Jerom Bowes is famous and honoured there.

After dinner I came home and found Sir John Minnes come this day, and I went to him to Sir W. Batten’s, where it pleased me to see how jealous Sir Williams both are of my going down to Woolwich, &c., and doing my duty as I nowadays do, and of my dining with the Commission of the Customs.

So to my office, and there till 9 at night, and so to my lodgings to bed. I this day heard that Mr. Martin Noell is knighted by the King, which I much wonder at; but yet he is certainly a very useful man.

43 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F,  •  Link

"the yacht lately built by our virtuosoes...with the help of Commissioner Pett"

L&M note: "The yacht built by Pett and the virtuosi was the *Jemmy*..."

L&M have changed their tune: on 13 August they said in a note: "She was built by Commissioner Pett. The Royal Society appears to have had no part in this enterprise."

Is there an independent source that can confirm one account or the other?

Pauline  •  Link

"...which all our people are glad of..."
Why glad that the Dutch bezan beats the English-built ship? Because the bezan belongs to the Duke of York and he oversees the navy ("all our people")?

Terry F,  •  Link

Dirk records Evelyn's diary as saying on 13 August “Today the official foundation of the ‘Royal Society’”
Does this suggest the virtuosi might have had their heads elsewhere, since Evelyn makes no comment on the trial of the Jemmy?…

dirk  •  Link

"the Emperor had ordered those two men to be dragged down stairs, with their heads knocking upon every stair till they were killed"

"the Emperor in contempt, to show his command of his subjects, did command one to leap from the window down and broke his neck"

Strong stories! The Russian court must have been a fairly rough affair, with little or no respect for the life of a subject -- Which would eventually cause the downfall of the tsar (or czar, if you prefer the old spelling): the Russian revolution in 1917.

But just maybe Sir Bowes is embellishing the stories a little though...

dirk  •  Link

"by this time pretty weary and all in a sweat; took boat there for the Tower, which made me a little fearful, it being a cold, windy morning"

Such a cold morning, and so sweaty...

Probably overdressed, so as not to catch a cold.

dirk  •  Link

The Tsar

"Alexis I (1629-76), second Russian czar (1645-76) of the house of Romanov, and father of Peter the Great. He succeeded his father Michael. As a result of two campaigns by Alexis against the Poles (1654-56 and 1660-67), Russia gained Smolensk, Kyyiv, and the lands east of the Dnepr River. The war with Sweden (1656-58) was not as successful; Alexis was forced to withdraw from the lands he had taken. The reign of Czar Alexis was also marked by internal revolt, a schism in the Russian Orthodox church, and the formulation of a legal code that extended the serfdom of the Russian peasants."


dirk  •  Link

Russian serfdom

"In the [16th] century, the state had gradually curtailed peasants' rights to move from one landlord to another. With the state now fully sanctioning serfdom, runaway peasants became state fugitives. Landlords had complete power over their peasants and bought, sold, traded, and mortgaged them. Together the state and the nobles placed the overwhelming burden of taxation on the peasants, whose rate was 100 times greater in the mid-17th century than it had been a century earlier. In addition, middle-class urban tradesmen and craftsmen were assessed taxes, and, like the serfs, they were forbidden to change residence. All segments of the population were subject to military levy and to special taxes."


Also have a look at:……

Serfdom was only abolished (legally, not in fact) in 1861, with the "Emancipation Edict".

Jesse  •  Link

"caused his ... night-gown and night-cap and slippers to be sent for"

Something I'm tempted to do when going through airport security.

dirk  •  Link

The Tsar

Sorry, I didn't get this right. Bowes' story plays in the late 16th c., under Ivan the Terrible. (Should have read more carefully.)

Terry F,  •  Link

For shame, Dirk: Ivan the Terrible, the first Tsar, was a sweetie.

"Ivan the Terrible used to carry a metal-pointed staff with him, which he used to lash out at people who offended him. Once, he had peasant women stripped naked and used as target practice by his Oprichniki. Another time, he had several hundred beggars drowned in a lake. A boyar was set on a barrel of gunpowder and blown to bits. Jerome Horsey wrote how Prince Boris Telupa "was drawn upon a long sharp-made stake, which entered the lower part of his body and came out of his neck; upon which he languished a horrible pain for 15 hours alive, and spoke to his mother, brought to behold that woeful sight. And she was given to 100 gunners, who defiled her to death, and the Emperor's hungry hounds devoured her flesh and bones". His treasurer, Nikita Funikov, was boiled to death in a cauldron. His councillor, Ivan Viskovaty, was hung, while Ivan's entourage took turns hacking off pieces of his body.

"In 1570, on the basis of unproved accusations of treason, Ivan sacked and burned the city of Novgorod and tortured, mutilated, impaled, roasted, and otherwise massacred its citizens. A German mercenary wrote: "Mounting a horse and brandishing a spear, he charged in and ran people through while his son watched the entertainment...". Novgorod's archbishop was first sewn up in a bearskin and then hunted to death by a pack of hounds. Men, women and children were tied to sleighs, which were then run into the freezing waters of the Volkhov River. The mass of corpses made it flood its banks. Novgorod never recovered. Later the city of Pskov suffered a similar fate."…

Pauline  •  Link

Given recent "off topic" considerations, just where are we here?????

daniel  •  Link

Ivan the Terrible

With this account, Sir Jerom Bowes seems quite a remarkable fellow indeed! No wonder Sam finds it appropriate to write his tale down.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

"...which all our people are glad of..."

I wondered about this, too. Pauline’s shrewd guess makes sense of it.

“it pleased me to see how jealous Sir Williams both are”

Some scene: the old sea warriors, including Sir John Mennes, complaining to his face of the officiousness and independence of the young busybody Pepys (who is not even a sailor!). He can’t wait to tell his diary how gratifying he found the occasion.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

See England be civilized, just leave a few heads on poles on the bridge to let the hoi polloi know who be in charge. no rough stuf. [mans humanity to fellow man?]

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

"...'in' my way saw the yacht lately built by our virtuosoes..." part of the vowel shift, a mis-cue on the secret writing or Sam too tired to check his handy work after a wearie day, else ?. from one that enjoys making errors.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Farmer of the Customs
Two of the worthies with whom Sam dined today are named in their L&M blurbs as "farmer of the customs". This was a new term to me, so I did a little searching, and found the following definition of "farmer" in Webster's Unabridged 1913 edition (sorry, don't have OED access):
(c) One who takes taxes, customs, excise, or other duties, to collect, either paying a fixed annuual rent for the privilege; as, a farmer of the revenues.

Pauline  •  Link

Sir Jerome Bowes and a tale of establishing the standing of a foreign power.
Reminiscent of Ambassador Joseph Wilson (husband of outed CIA operative Valerie Plame) as acting ambassador to Iraq standing up to Saddam Hussein for the release of American hostages--Gulf War I.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Sir Williams both..." seems Pepys can't resist lumping them as some of us like to.

I would assume Mr. Coventry has made it clear he approves heartily of Sam's runs to Woolwich, etc.,else I'd expect our boy would have to be a bit more cautious given Penn and Batten ready to pounce.

"So, Hewer? Where is our dear Pepys? Off on another little jaunt, rather than tending to the board's business as some of us do?"

"Mr. Pepys, Sir William, left very early this morning with my approval, for Woolwich."

"Oh... Well, Coventry...One must commend the lad's (little popinjay bast...choke, fume, sputter) spirit."

"As the Duke and I do, Sir Will." Pleasant smile.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"Made me a little fearful"
Sam is again worried about getting chilled whilst sweaty - concerned as ever that he will pass another stone from kidney to bladder.
"hastening my business there" - maybe he will finally get his home improvements completed!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Well, ye see Mr. Pepys. When we built the new upper floor at Deptford, Al here. Take a bow, Al. Insisted we follow 'exact specifications' but I, knowin' ye'd want it done with all speed..."

"But, Mr. Taylor." Pepys stares at the horror. Al sighing in the background. "The upper story is three feet over the side."

"No problem, Mr. Pepys. Al, get the Stuartsawblaster 3000. We'll have your new floor trimmed down in..."

"Prithee, Tim. Me thinks we should not try this with fewer than five men."

"Al...Please. Now just head for your office, Mr. Pepys and don't ye worry about a thing."

Susanna  •  Link

Dutch Bezan

I think "all our people" are rooting for the Dutch-built ship because it is the king's yacht. See the note to bezan - the Dutch gave a ship (the Mary) to Charles II, and the Jemmy was built in England. Charles had the Dutch-built Mary and James the Jemmy when the brothers went yacht-racing, which seems to be the case here.

Nix  •  Link

Sir Jerome's mission to the Tsar --

From the Oxford DNB:

"In June 1583 Bowes was appointed Elizabeth's ambassador to Ivan IV, tsar of Russia. The apocryphal stories about this mission survived until the end of the seventeenth century and references to them can be found in a number of treatises on Russian history published in London between 1671 and 1699, as well as in Samuel Pepys's diary. In these stories Bowes appears as a valiant subject of the queen who fearlessly defended his sovereign before Ivan the Terrible. His irascibility was admired by the tempestuous Russian tsar who, after many a stormy scene, finally satisfied all the demands presented by the ambassador. Bowes himself had always insisted that the collapse of his mission was brought about by the death of Ivan. This understanding of his mission to Moscow became accepted even at the time although the Muscovy Company, on whose behalf it was undertaken, constantly accused Bowes of mishandling the negotiations. Neither he, nor the company, nor later historians were correct in their interpretation of affairs. Bowes was given the impossible task of procuring the most advantageous trading privileges for the English without giving the tsar anything in return. During the negotiations which lasted from 18 October 1583 until 17 February 1584, Bowes had fourteen audiences with Ivan and his ministers. Termed a plenipotentiary ambassador in the queen's letter, he had no power to conclude anything and was instructed to take away from the tsar even that little which had been given to him during the preceding negotiations with the Russian ambassador in London. He had to bluff his way through the negotiations, which he also sustained by that "want of temperance" so deplored by the company. On 14 February 1584 he was dismissed by Ivan with these words: "Since you came to us with nothing, we will send you back with what you brought us." Bowes was given an official leave on 17 February by the tsar’s councillors. Thus his mission was finished a month before Ivan’s death on 19 March. Bowes was caught in the turmoil which took place in Moscow after the tsar’s death. His relations with Ivan’s councillors were extremely strained during the negotiations. Bowes’s continuous accusations that they were hampering the talks brought Ivan’s wrath on several of them. After the tsar’s death, Bowes was placed under house arrest and stood in real fear of his life for some six weeks before he was finally allowed to depart.”

language hat  •  Link

Nix: Great quote!
I've added it to the Bowes page. And can I remind people that if you have background information on the people mentioned in an entry, it should go in the background pages? Click on the link in the entry and add it there, where it will do some good after today. (I would not recommend doing that with the penny-dreadful material on Ivan, though.)

Pauline  •  Link

Dutch bezan
Click on "bezan" in today's diary entry to read Pedro's post of Antonia Fraser's take on which royal brother raced which boat.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

"Charles II became very fond of yachting;

and besides many yachts which were designed for him by Sir Phineas Pett, he is credited with having desired one for himself, named Jamaie, which was built at Lambeth.

"The Jamaie was matched against a small Dutch yacht named Bezan in 1662 from Greenwich to Gravesend and back, and the King was gratified to find his vessel leading by three miles at the finish, although the little Dutch craft led by half a mile beating down, "the wind being contrary, but saved his stakes in returning, his majesty sometimes steering himself," according to Mr. Pepys. "

From the site cited by Sjoerd in his annotation of Bezan…

Terry F,  •  Link

"the yacht…built by our virtuosoes...with the help of Commissioner Pett"

Although SP will come to admire Pett as the greatest ship-designer ever, at this stage he has a negative relation to him.

language hat, it is not irrelant to know that Ivan IV (Ива́н Гро́зный, Ivan Grozny = Ivan the Terrible, Awesome or Frightening), gradually grew mentally unbalanced and violent. Two years before Bowes was sent to his court, “In 1581, Ivan Grozny beat his pregnant daughter-in-law for wearing immodest clothing, causing a miscarriage. His son Ivan, upon learning of this, engaged in a heated argument with his father which resulted in his (accidental) death. This event is depicted in the famous painting by Ilya Repin, Ivan the Terrible and his son Ivan on November 16, 1581 better known as Ivan the Terrible killing his son.” This text and an image of the painting are at…

The penny-dreadful material was Ivan.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Just a note on Ivan, he and his wife, Anastasia were rumored to have suffered from mercury poisoning (possibly deliberately administred by his nobles) which may have led to his worst periods of mental imbalance. Her hair was recently studied and found to contain 10 times the normal level of mercury.…

Charlie, Jamie...You've no idea how lucky you boys are.

Pauline  •  Link

'from Greenwich to Gravesend and back'
A. Hamilton, I'm confused. The details in the quote fit for today's race, but the quote within the quote, attributed to Mr. Pepys, is not from today's diary entry. Perhaps he will write it tomorrow?

language hat  •  Link

"it is not irrel[ev]ant to know"

Well, actually, in the context of Pepys, it's pretty close to irrelevant -- not entirely, because Pepys does provide an anecdote of cruel behavior that even if entirely invented is based on Ivan's character, but Ivan lived a century earlier, so it's quite far off. As someone deeply immersed in Russian history, I deplore the reduction of Ivan to a selection of psychotic behavior that, while part of the record, give an extremely distorted picture of his reign. But again, this isn't relevant, so I won't go on.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I wonder if, like German experts in the Soviet Union during the Nazi-Soviet Pact period just before the 1941 invasion, any Dutch naval men attended the yacht show and have been drawing "conclusions" about English naval matters since Restoration.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

In fact, following this line further...

Who would be the best candidate for Dutch mole in the Navy Office?

The distinguished but turncoat admiral with Dutch wife, and whose son's indulging in radical religious ideas might make him a suitable candidate for blackmail?


But what about the extravagant and notoriously side-switching member of the board with young, beautiful, equally notorious in her way, wife to please? A man already frowned upon for his corruption.

And then there's the young clerk...His place in the office purchased by an "uncle" with no great affection for the new regime. A young man who seems out of place in his role as apprentice/clerk, continually manifesting the independence that perhaps reflects a...Republican (and I don't mean the American GOP) upbringing. A young man with access to all naval secrets. A young man who will never marry by choice as he climbs the naval administrative ladder, a perfect situation for one dealing in the 'sensitive' work of espionage.

Moreover, he's blonde...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Next December...

"You know, Pepys." Sir Will P reflects as he and Sam watch Will go skating off down the frozen Thames. Vital dispatches on the Navy's new designs in hand.

"Tis amazing that boy of yours' ability with those things. My Annette says he skates like a native Amsterdamer."

Ok, I'll stop now.

Jackie  •  Link

The British have often had a warm view towards the Dutch, which was particularly interesting in those days (especially in the events of a couple of decades later).
There was a view in those days of the Dutch being a bulwark against the Catholics and although we had various small wars against them in the intervening period, we seemed to take it in fairly good part.
But then, 1688 was the fiirst invasion in our history where the invaders were welcomed with brass bands assembled on the cliff-tops.

Jacqueline Gore  •  Link

How can you, Robert? Accuse our Will of spying? A Dutch mole?

Of course his uncle would have every reason to hate the Stuart government. And Will does seem the independent type. And he is blonde.

"Mein Gott, mein heer, me a spy?"

Sjoerd  •  Link

"Nomen est omen"
With people like Captain Holland (… )at hand there seems to have been little need for "moles". Also, about every listing of 17th century crew members of Dutch ships has some english names, and probably the same thing goes the other way 'round.

Second Reading

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

I know that spelling was flexible in Sam's day, but I do wonder whether or not Sam was having a little private joke by spelling Brouncker as 'Brunkard', to rhyme with drunkard?

Later in the diary, it's spelled 'Brunker', and then finally 'Brouncker' as Sam has more and more to do with him.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Pepys's evolving spelling of Brouncker: a conjecture

It's been remarked that Pepys tends to spell phonetically.

"Brunkard' may have been what he heard in 1662 (but 28 April we have a Brouncker).
As he came into the Royal Society (FRS 15 February 1665), he writes Brunker.…
We find Brouncker post-1665 (SP is now closer to him in several contexts and may be reading his name on memo, letters or RS publications).

It's all written hurriedly in shorthand.

Bill  •  Link

“in my way saw the yacht lately built by our virtuosoes”

VIRTUOSO, a learned ingenious Man; a Student in Philosophy; one that is well skill’d in the Secrets of Nature, and searches after new Discoveries for the Publick Benefit; also a Person who is curious in collecting Rarities, as Medals, Stones, Plants, &c.
---An Universal English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1724.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Re 'Brouncker': yours is a rational explanation Terry, certainly for the post 1665 change. But as there seems to be a bit of Schadenfreude concerning the poor performance of the "virtuosoes" yacht, I wondered about deliberate mispronunciation.

There was a teacher in a local school whose surname was 'Hillier'; determinedly pronounced 'Hillyard' by some local parents whose children had fallen foul of him; they knew quite well what his name was, but were determined to exact a petty revenge in this way. Mispronunciation or misspelling can be a social weapon. I wondered similarly about Sam's "Mr Whore".

Terry Foreman  •  Link

As language hat repeatedly says, there is no evidence Pepys plays on words or expresses irony in the diary: it was speedy utilitarian office shorthand.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘virtuoso, n. and adj. < Italian virtuoso . .
1.a. A learned person; a scholar; esp. a scientist, a natural philosopher. Also: spec. a member of the Royal Society . .
. . 1656 Earl of Monmouth tr. T. Boccalini Ragguagli di Parnasso i. v. 8 The gallant Dispute which arose..between some Letterati of the State, deserves to be written; every one of these Vertuosie [It. virtuosi] defended their own Opinion as the best.
. . 1709 T. Robinson Ess. Nat. Hist. Westmorland xii. 69 That new Hypothesis so stiffly maintained by some of our learned Virtuosi . . ‘

Ivan  •  Link

I cannot defend my namesakes terrible deeds!!

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I'm not surprised Pepys says, "I this day heard that Mr. Martin Noell is knighted by the King, which I much wonder at; but yet he is certainly a very useful man."

Noell is John Thurloe's brother-in-law and had thrived under the Commonwealth as a tax farmer, taking up farms of the excise or customs and advancing other sums, secure in the knowledge that he would get his money back. Charles II accepted Martin Noell as one of four London merchants — along with Thomas Povey, Nicholas Crispe and Andrew Riccard — to take their places with the Royalist courtiers on the Council for Plantations and as important councilors.

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