Friday 19 September 1662

Up betimes and to my office, and at 9 o’clock, none of the rest going, I went alone to Deptford, and there went on where they left last night to pay Woolwich yard, and so at noon dined well, being chief at the table, and do not see but every body begins to give me as much respect and honour as any of the rest. After dinner to Pay again, and so till 9 at night, my great trouble being that I was forced to begin an ill practice of bringing down the wages of servants, for which people did curse me, which I do not love. At night, after I had eaten a cold pullet, I walked by brave moonshine, with three or four armed men to guard me, to Redriffe, it being a joy to my heart to think of the condition that I am now in, that people should of themselves provide this for me, unspoke to. I hear this walk is dangerous to walk alone by night, and much robbery committed here. So from thence by water home, and so to my lodgings to bed.

24 Annotations

First Reading

Australian Susan  •  Link

Where would the money be stored that Sam was paying out? Was he carrying it around with him and that was partly why he got the armed guard? (as well as to protect someone, who by his dress, looked wealthy - to the 17thc mugger)

Terry F  •  Link

"I was forced to begin an ill practice of bringing down the wages of servants, for which people did curse me, which I do not love."

L&M note: "Details of the pay are in PRO, Adm. 20/4, pp. 78+. A savings of £100 was made on the previous quarter: ib., pp. 75+.”

Which did Mr. Pepys not love — the “ill practice” or that “people did curse [him]” for it? What “forced” him to do it, if, as L&M’s note suggests, there was profit to the Navy Office in it?

Terry F  •  Link

Did Mr. Pepys take insufficient funds with him, surely knowing ahead of time how many men were due what?

Puzzling biz.

dirk  •  Link

"with three or four armed men to guard me"

It seems to me that this kind of phrasing is indicative of Sam writing his diary entry some time after the facts (possibly a couple of days after): if this had been written down immediately, the very same evening, Sam would still have known whether his escort had been three **or** four strong - after all these men had been with him in a potentially perilous situation, so he would have been very conscious of their number...

Jeannine  •  Link

"it being a joy to my heart to think of the condition that I am now in"
Interesting to note that Sam is now seeing himself as worthy of protection-- a rise in his importance and significance.

Pauline  •  Link

"...that people should of themselves provide this for me, unspoke to."
For all of his pride in futhering himself, much of the underpinings are in place and ready as a surprise to him. What a boost that gives to his pride!

andy  •  Link

as much respect and honour as any of the rest. ... for which people did curse me, which I do not love

Oh Sam, the joys of management!

Mary  •  Link


If you go to the BBC London website ( and scroll to the foot of the page, you will find that you can select an illustrated 'walk' around Rotherhithe that includes some historical information.

Terry F  •  Link

Mary, it is also the case that the BBC Online's Thames Tour of Rotherhithe's Stage 6, The Mayflower pub… includes some historical mis-information, esp. the canard that the Pilgrims who set sail from there "were the first permanent European settlers in America."
When I was in elementary school in Southern California, we learned that the Spanish had colonized portions of the Americas a century earlier.…

(Does this evidence a problem with the identity of *Europe*? Surely not!)

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Re Sam's protected return from Deptford.

I have the feeling --which I haven't verified -- that Sam has walked this route to Redriffe day and night for months. The armed guard may have been laid on by the yard for Sam either because he was carrying unpayed-out funds back to the Navy Office, or because the servants who got short pay were considered a threat to him,or for both those reasons.But it also could have been a normal courtesy extended by the yard to the Navy Office paymasters, and this was simply Sam's first experience of it. Sam's seeing it as a compliment to him personally seems off the mark, although the guard may have flattered him by suggesting that they couldn't let so important a gentleman be exposed to robbery.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Who's On First?
Not only were the Pilgrims not the first Europeans to establish a permanent colony in the New World (1620), they weren't even the first Englishmen. The Jamestown Colony in Virginia was established in 1607.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

What fascinates me are the indications that New England is already, only 42 years or so after initial settlement, becoming a vital resource center for England. (New England masts). It's as if we'd established a lunar colony and begun mining Helium3 or something for shipment back in the time from 1969 to today.

Glyn  •  Link

Also hemp ropes are being investigated. It makes economic sense to buy more from New England and rely less on continental Europe. Boston is developing into a richer city than most in England and its citizens correspondingly prosperous.

Also, of course, because of their maritime experience a lot of New Englanders are in the navy but they don't get recorded as being different from the mainland English.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Sir Walter Raleigh the first English colonizer of America
True, but the key word was "permanent" colony. Sir Walter's colonies did not endure.

Kevin Peter  •  Link

I think Sam was provided with armed guards in this case because he was looked upon as being an important person. This seems to please him because he has never been offered this privilege before, showing how much he is rising in the world.

Second Reading

john  •  Link

If we are talking about the earliest non-native temporary settlements, one should note l'Anse aux Meadows.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

L'Anse aux Meadows:…

' . . The Vikings did not stay at L’Anse aux Meadows long. The sagas tell of clashes between the Norsemen and the indigenous people, who they called Skraelings. Vastly outnumbered, the Norse returned to Greenland after a few years. Time period: 1000 AD . . '

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The Brits are getting ready to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims sailing to the New World. A do-it-yourself Pilgrim's Tour has been organized with a very informative website attached. Lots of stories.…

Liz  •  Link

Note for future readers: the Mayflower events are on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hopefully back on track next year (2021).

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