Tuesday 23 December 1662

[Continued from yesterday. P.G.] …and slept hard till 8 o’clock this morning, and so up and to the office, where I found Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten come unexpectedly home last night from Portsmouth, having done the Pay there before we could have thought it. Sat all the morning, and at noon home to dinner with my wife alone, and after dinner sat by the fire, and then up to make up my accounts with her, and find that my ordinary housekeeping comes to 7l. a month, which is a great deal. By and by comes Dr. Pierce, who among other things tells me that my Lady Castlemaine’s interest at Court increases, and is more and greater than the Queen’s; that she hath brought in Sir H. Bennet, and Sir Charles Barkeley; but that the queen is a most good lady, and takes all with the greatest meekness that may be. He tells me too that Mr. Edward Montagu is quite broke at Court with his repute and purse; and that he lately was engaged in a quarrell against my Lord Chesterfield: but that the King did cause it to be taken up. He tells me, too, that the King is much concerned in the Chancellor’s sickness, and that the Chancellor is as great, he thinks, as ever he was with the King.

He also tells me what the world says of me, “that Mr. Coventry and I do all the business of the office almost:” at which I am highly proud.

He being gone I fell to business, which was very great, but got it well over by nine at night, and so home, and after supper to bed.

23 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F  •  Link

They "having done the Pay there before we could have thought it."

The L&M text lacks the comma; the sense seems to be that Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten had done the Pay at Portsmouth faster that Pepys and his crew could have imagined they would.

Australian Susan  •  Link

" highly proud"
Sam is right to be proud of his diligence, but I hope the sense of it is confined to these pages - the Sir Williams and others could be dangerous to him if they perceive him getting above himself and implying they are a lazy pair of blimps! And I think I would be concerned about this view being freely discussed, because (even if Sam did nothing) it could easily get back to the other officers - and I don't think they would be pleased about this assessment, true or not. Be careful, Sam!

language hat  •  Link

I don't think Sam has to worry.
If you have powerful protectors, you can preen as much as you like (and people did); if not, being modest won't help you -- you'll get trampled underfoot.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

"..., and find that my ordinary housekeeping comes to 7l. a month, which is a great deal...." 25% of income. 'twas what I be spending as starting Civil Servant back in the '50's [1900s that be], that be 2 weeks salary for many.

Robert Gertz  •  Link


"All right, Abalon. Next...Abercombie, James! Common seaman. Step forward..." a clerk calls. A weary James Abercombie trudges out of the crowd.

"Five pounds pay. One penny, two pennies..." the clerk slowly counts out. Sir Will Batten standing by rolls eyes...Turning to Sir John.

"Minnes? You want to spend Xmas here in Portsmouth? While that little cocksure bastard gains ground at home with Coventry?"

"Lord, no, Sir Will." Sir John sighes.

"Well then, shall we...Speed the process?" Batten grabs the pay bag, swinging it...

"Catch, boys!" he flings the coin-laden bag at the horde of seamen awaiting their pay.

dirk  •  Link

"my ordinary housekeeping comes to 7l. a month"

Modern equivalent "using the retail price index" would be £573.11 [calculation for the year 2002 - later years are not (yet) available].

dirk  •  Link

"having done the Pay there before we could have"

There seems to be a lot of competition among the two "factions" of the Navy Board. This may indicate that the "others" (Batten etc) are very aware of Coventry's & Pepys' rising stars...

dirk  •  Link

John Evelyn went to the theatre today...

"I went with Sir George Tuke, to hear the comedians con and repeat his new comedy, The Adventures of Five Hours, a play whose plot was taken out of the famous Spanish poet, Calderon."

dirk  •  Link

The Adventures of Five Hours

Actually by Coello -- not Calderón.

"Antonio Coello (October 26th 1611, Madrid - October 20th 1652, Madrid) was a Spanish dramatist and poet. [...] The best of his original plays, "Los Empenos de seis horas", has been wrongly ascribed to Calderón; it was adapted by Samuel Tuke, under the title of The Adventures of five Hours, and was described by Pepys as superior to Othello. - It is an excellent example of stagecraft and animated dialogue. Coello died on the 20th of October 1652."

andy  •  Link

"If you have powerful protectors"

until you lose them. Best to stay cool, acknowledge your protectors, but acknowledge others too.

Mary  •  Link

...before we could have thought it.

I read the "having done the pay there" as parenthetic. The surprise is that Minnes & Batten have managed to return from Portsmouth so speedily, not that they have attended to the busness of the pay. The roads must have been in unseasonably good condition.

language hat  •  Link

"Best to stay cool, acknowledge your protectors, but acknowledge others too."
Very rational, but it's not the way people tend to behave now, and it's certainly not the way they behaved in Sam's day. It was a peacock age.

jeannine  •  Link

"By and by comes Dr. Pierce"...ok, admit it, doesn't everyone's interest perk up a little bit when they see the arrival of Dr. Pierce? He always bring some interesting court news/gossip.
Somewhat sadly today, the court factions are becoming more predominant and Lady Castlemaine's influence is growing as she aligns with Bennett & Barkaley. Although not exactly sure what Mountagu and Chesterfield were arguing over, Mountagu is clearly and quite squarely in the Queen's court and perhaps her most devoted English servant (and somewhat of an admirer perhaps). Being pitted against Chesterfield (formerly or perhaps still linked to Castlemaine) isn't surprsing as to some extent sides are always being drawn in Charles' court.
But, in light of all that is going on around Sam, it's nice to see him being noticed for performing so well in his role at the Navy. It's rather rare to get noticed in Charles' court for one's work as opposed to one's antics, so this is no small feat.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Kudos again to Sam for not acting on his Sarah's info to give Bess a hard time on household expenses. No doubt though she is made to keep pretty strict accounts and Sam's very much aware the high living and its consequences are largely of his own making.

We may want to keep memories of this and Sam's efforts to provide a little more companionship to the Missus in a few...

So Sam's soon-to-be favorite play has hit the London stage...Neat. Hope he gets to it for Xmas.

"He is a fool who thinks by force or skill To turn the current of a woman's will." -- Samuel Tuke, Adventures of Five Hours. Act v. Sc. 3. Must have been quite a show...the Star Wars, Kong, Rings of its day. Or would the Star Wars have been "Siege of Rhodes".

Jesse  •  Link

“my ordinary housekeeping comes to 7l. a month”

Wonder if a 'seasonal' adjustment might need to be made? As noted above there may have been some one off expenses on the Mrs. behalf though no sign of the season's spending we see today.

Jacqueline Gore  •  Link

"We may want to keep memories of this and Sam’s efforts to provide a little more companionship to the Missus in a few…"

Hmmn? Sounds ominous, Robert.

I'd say "Siege of Rhodes, Parts I and II" pair better with Star Wars. War, multiple parts. "Adventure of Five Hours" sounds more Kongish, maybe LOTR.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Today in the Old Dominion and Colony of Virginia -- Partus sequitur ventrem

“An Act for Mulatto Children, being bound or free according to Condition of the Mother” (December 23, 1662):

“Whereas some doubts have arisen, whether Children got by an English Man upon a Negro Woman,
should be Slaves or Free: Be it therefore Enacted ... by the present Grand Assembly, That all Children
born in this Countrey, shall be held Bond or Free according to the condition of the Mother.”

A Complete Collection of All the Laws of Virginia. London, [1684]

The doubts had arisen since in English common law the condition of the children followed that of the father. This new new law meant that slave-owners were not required to emancipate or legally acknowledge their illegitimate children by their slaves. &c. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Part…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The "Partus" law meant white men could increase their material worth by fathering women by slave women they owned.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Mr. Edward Montagu...lately was engaged in a quarrell against my Lord Chesterfield"

A quarrel about precedence...Both were servants of the Queen: Mountagu her Master of the Horse and Chesterfield her Lord Chamberlain. (L&M note)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the King is much concerned in the Chancellor’s sickness, and that the Chancellor is as great, he thinks, as ever he was with the King."

From 4 December until early in the following March Clarendon was incapacitated by gout. There was much speculation at the time whether he had lost influence by an illness which came so soon after the appointment of a rival (Bennet) as Secretary in October. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/… Later accounts have in particular assumed that the Declaration issued three days after this entry was due to Bennet's influence rather than Clarendon's.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Anyone know exactly what "housekeeping" entailed for Pepys? Even £573 in today's money doesn't seem beyond what might be expected if it covers all food, drink, supplies, fuel for heating and cooking for Pepys, his wife and all their servants and guests, including servants' pay. Would it also cover rent or whatever he paid for his housing?

JayW  •  Link

I thought Sam's house belonged to the Navy and was part of the perks of his office. I don't recall any entries about paying for it.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

The house was what is now known as a "Grace & Favour" government residence, which went with the job, as was the Wardrobe for Lord Sandwich.

The other residents were more wealthy than Pepys, and had homes of their own too. Pepys of course had the expectation of Brampton, and whatever he might be able to afford from his gifts and business ventures. However, that he was currently dependent upon his job for his home played, I imagine, a part in his anxiety not to overspend, or compete with his wealthier neighbours. Accumulation of a little pot was a vital safety net in what were still uncertain times.

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