Saturday 4 October 1662

To my office all the morning, after I was up (my wife beginning to make me lie long a mornings), where we sat till noon, and then dined at home, and after a little with my workmen to my office till 9 at night, among other things examining the particulars of the miscarriage of the Satisfaction, sunk the other day on the Dutch coast through the negligence of the pilott.

19 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Ah-haw-haw-haw...As the stereotypic Frenchman depicted by Hollywood in the 30s would say.


"Must to office...Sacred oaths...Financial future...Standing with Coventry."

"Sam'l..." Wide smile...

Batten ready to screw me out of the new batch of contract negotiations...Must...

"Ma petite..." Open arms, loose hair.

Tis' a man's most sacred duty to tend to his family, Sam reflects. Rolling over...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Meanwhile at the Hague...A council reviews current news.

"Hee, look at these stupid Englishmen. Now that Cromwell be gone and six feet under, can't even sail their damned ships." General snickering, within the limits of solid, even stolid, good Dutch burgher types.

Coming of the heels of their yacht design's success...Excellent.

"Fellow Hollanders..." the noble DeRutyer eyes the group. "The cursed Englanders grow more feeble each day. The time is almost upon us when the Republic shall make its bid for world domination of the seas."

JA!!! General raising of large pipes in support.

Xjy  •  Link

Lying abed
Poor Sam... his wife *making* him late for the office... poor helpless thing, putty in her hands...

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"the Satisfaction sunk the other day"
So, that is where the Rolling Stones found the inspiration!!!

A. Hamilton  •  Link

my wife beginning to make me lie long a mornings

Life is cruel to those of the Puritan Ethic, who have to contend not only with such classic temptations of the ancient foe as wine and plays, but also with wifely wiles & appetites ("With thee conversing I forget all time," & etc.).
I'm glad to see Sam is failing the latter test. The Satisfaction has been found in his chamber, it seems.

Jeannine  •  Link

"the miscarriage of the Satisfaction, sunk the other day on the Dutch coast through the negligence of the pilott'
I'm curious and have a spattering of questions/thoughts here. Any information about the sinking of the boat and/or the pilot? If a boat was sunk through negligence, etc. and the pilot survived, would there be some sort of trial, punishment, etc. (I'm not implying willful neglect)? I'm not sure how things were handled in Sam's day for these types of things. Did pilots of ships need some "qualifications" of some sort, etc. or where they just picked by family connections, etc.? I would also think that the Navy, being so under funded really could not tolerate losing any ship, let alone one to mishandling. I am only speculating here that Sam may be thinking through a lot of what went wrong here and probably starting to assess what needs to be "fixed" in the future for the Navy????

Jesse  •  Link

"negligence of the pilott"

My understanding is that the pilot would be a local (i.e. Dutchman) familiar with the navigation hazards, who is typically required by the local harbor authorities to avoid the type of accident that occured. My guess is that the main issue is liability and perhaps the issue of "negligence" may be of some dispute.

Jackie  •  Link

Ships were often lost in those days. There was no way to establish longitude (and would not be for another Century). As a result, longitude was worked out by a combination of dead reckoning and the pilots knowing the waters well enough (or having good enough records of the local waters to be able to work it all out). Navigation errors were horribly easy and ships were often sunk due to the pilots being a fraction of a degree out and the ships hitting submerged rocks or other hazards.

Leslie Katz  •  Link

"the negligence of the pilott"

The question of what would happen to the pilot made me think of what was later said about Byng: "He shall be tried immediately; he shall be hanged directly". (Although my recollection is that Byng was shot, not hanged)

Frans  •  Link

In these days the pilot was part of the crew of the vessel. There was no form of communication from vessel to shore. So pretty hard to order a pilot. Communication by flag was not good either, because the vessel had to be fairly close to shore for that. So a pilot had to be knowledgeable of the whole area where he was going, or the whole, then known, world. Just remember the movie "Shogun"

Jeannine  •  Link

Thanks to all for your comments on the ship/pilot. I am almost thinking that the word "negligence" perhaps can't really rest with a pilot in the same manner as it may today. Without the tools, sea markings, communications, etc. to help guide him, it would be much more understandable to make what we may call "human error" today.

Terry F.  •  Link

Was ?the negligence of the pilott? reliane ob his experience only, instead of the latest navigational charts, showiing moving shoals better that buoys.
(Such charts in a tight space within sight of shore would have been more useful to pilots than longitude :-))

Australian Susan  •  Link

Specialist information about navigation hazards is vital for safe (or at least less dangerous) sailing. Drake was able to get round Cape Horn because he "acquired" pilot details from the Spanish expedition of Magellan. Today pilots are either local or deep sea ( local are attached to a port and taken up by a ship standing off shore to come in or taken out from the port as an alien ship leaves, being dropped off once the ship is clear of local hazard in the pilot boat)(in the days of cruise liners crossing the Atlantic, the pilot boat was also used to return people seeing off passengers who got left on board). In the UK, pilots are a specialised body and train as a local pilot for their port and aslo deep sea. Not sure when this arose. I imagine that the pilot who caused the ship to sink was the 17th century equivalent of a local pilot. He might not even have been on board at the time, having done his work (so he thought) setting the ship on the right course and then leaving in his pilot boat. In very local waters, I am not sure longitude would have come into it much: sounds like the pilot was either carelss or too trusting of the crew he was instructing.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

My guess is, the best sailor be the Pilott, one that can read the seas for tell tale signs of sea irregularities and has listened to all the olde sea stories of previous losses. There be lots of folk lore of the dangers of Dutch waters, be they pirates lurking from Calais-Dunkerque or clouds that be blowing the wrong way against tide changes and send the ship upon the dunes. There be plenty of olde salted Tars stories that have been around them shores, all kept in ones head as they not be riting them down for the gents.
This ship appears to have sailed the seas , including Acadia [N.S], unfortunately Sails need co-operation of the winds and an abrupted change in winds can wreck havoc. [Having been caught off guard me self when sailing a little one off the coast of Cyprus .]
The Ship's master may not be a sailor, just a gent that has friends in the city and does always listen to advice of the salted ones when navigating the the German sea, still many disasters occur in their waters in spite of the improved education..
The Lat./Long., be neaded for finding the land , sailing off shores requires sailing judgement.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Australian Susan has it right. I doubt it has changed these last 500 years in Holland's challenging ports..

I was part of an onshore crew receiving oil tankers in Los Angeles' outer harbor in the 1960's, and it was as it is today:

"Ensuring a safe flow of ship traffic to and from Los Angeles Harbor, the Los Angeles Port Pilots maintain round-the-clock service in San Pedro Bay. Based at Berth 68, pilots board arriving vessels in the vicinity of the Los Angeles Sea Buoy to guide incoming ships to dock. They also provide assistance to outbound ships.

"The Los Angeles Pilot Service dates back to 1907, when the Port of Los Angeles was founded. Today, the Pilot service employs 29 dedicated professionals, combining the skills of pilots, dispatchers and boat crew to provide expert pilotage services to Port of Los Angeles customers.

"The mission of the Los Angeles Pilot Service is to provide safe, reliable and efficient pilotage and marine services. Over the last decade, the Los Angeles Pilots have safely completed more than 55,000 vessel movements. They are amongst the best-trained pilots in the maritime industry. After a rigorous two-year training program, each pilot attends manned-model shiphandling courses in Grenoble, France, once every four years. Each pilot also attends ship simulator training every two years.

"The Los Angeles Pilots have an average of 33 years of marine experience and 16 years of piloting experience in San Pedro Bay."…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Such local knowledge was essential for a pilot esp. in the island-dotted Dutch coastal waters, but did not suffice in an era when tides and currents were not distinguished. "In 1699 [William Dampier, d. 1715] published... a treatise entitled A Discourse on Winds, Breezes, Storms, Tides and Currents in the Torrid Zone. When Dampier's Discourse on the physical phenomena of the atmosphere and oceans of the Torrid Zone provided valuable empirical information to supplement the theoretical arguments of natural philosophers, who at this time were pondering the explanation of winds and currents. The movements of the air and the seas were generally ascribed to the rotation of the earth, if one adopted Copernicus's heliocentric view of the solar system, or to the movement of the heavens, if one still clung to Aristotle's vision of a stationary earth around which the heavens revolved. Tides were often confused with the ocean currents in the thinking of natural philosophers. Dampier, however, drew a clear distinction between tides and currents."…

Bill  •  Link

"the Satisfaction, sunk the other day on the Dutch coast"

Sam, in his diary entry of 23 January 1664/65, says that the captain of the Satisfaction when it sank was Robert Mohun:…

Ivan  •  Link

Re the sinking of the Satisfaction L&M note that the Navy Board enquiry found that the pilot, John Lewis, was to blame and that Pepys' shorthand notes of his examination of Lewis describe him as "a sober man".

eileen d.  •  Link

Admiral Byng (re: Leslie Katz post, above)

"...Aged 50 in 1756 when the Seven Years’ War broke out, Byng, now a full admiral, sailed with ten ships of the line to Gibraltar. His orders were to prevent the French in Toulon from capturing the British stronghold of Fort St Philip on the island of Minorca, and to this end he was to carry a detachment of 700 men from the Gibraltar garrison to Port Mahon.

When Byng reached Gibraltar, however, he discovered that the French had already landed a sizeable force on Minorca and were besieging the fort. He and his council of war decided against landing more troops and he wrote to the Admiralty to explain that carrying out his orders would not stop the French and would be a needless waste of manpower.

The letter, which arrived at the end of May, aroused consternation and fury in London. George II said flatly: ‘This man will not fight!’...

...Mobs went about chanting ‘Swing, swing Admiral Byng’ and the court martial, which convened at the end of December, was reported in detail in all the newspapers. Byng was charged with ‘failing to do his utmost’. He defended himself, but the court found against him and with the utmost reluctance sentenced him to death...

...After a few agonizing moments he dropped the handkerchief, the six marines fired and the admiral fell gently on his side...

The rights and wrongs of the matter have been disputed ever since..."

from History Today, The Execution of Admiral Byng…

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