Tuesday 20 January 1662/63

Up betimes and to the office, where all the morning. Dined at home, and Mr. Deane of Woolwich with me, talking about the abuses of the yard. Then to the office about business all the afternoon with great pleasure, seeing myself observed by every body to be the only man of business of us all, but Mr. Coventry. So till late at night, and then home to supper and bed.

17 Annotations

First Reading

Eric Walla  •  Link

Pace yourself, Sam!

Being universally observed to be a man of business is almost as tiring as BEING a man of business.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Robert - this entry *begs* you to do some dialogue for the Sir Williams on what they were thinking. Please! Sam is really being somewhat pompous here.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"I am the Master of the Sea...I am the ruler of the King's Navy. Whose praise Great Britain one day will chant..."

Hmmn...Ought to set that to music.

"Yes." Sir Will Batten nods towards the passing Pepys who gives a nonchalant bow.

"There's Pepys. You know, the man whom all acknowledge has the running of His Majesty's Navy, lads."

"That's the one, the bastard!" one of the seamen petitioning Sir Will for redress cries.

"Kill 'im! Starving me wife and young uns!" The hue and cry is taken up...

What the devil is that racket? Sam stares...

Hmmn...Coventry at the office looks over.

"Sir! Mr. Coventry! For God's sakes, let me in!!" Sam batters at the now-securely locked office door.

"Afraid I can't do that, Pepys. Damage to His Majesty's property, assault of his officers...Would tarnish the adminstration, my boy. Can't have that. But my best to you, lad. I assure you the King's Justice will be brought to bear upon your assailants in due course."


A quick turn as the mob bears down. Sir Will Batten observing with not inconsiderable pleasure from behind...

"Jane, for the love of God, let me in!"

Ah...A sigh of relief as Jane emerges turns to puzzlement as she closes the door, locking it.

"Sir. I regret to have to remind you that today is the day me time's up with you and the Mistress. I can't be going about leaving open the door of one for whom I be no longer workin'. A girl in my position can't be riskin' accusation of letting thieves in, sir. God be wid' ye, sir."

Jane...? The mob politely halts to let the young woman pass...

"Bess! Darling, let me in!"

Bess emerges, shutting and locking the door.


"What did you want, Sam'l? Oh..." she eyes the raging mob...Again temporarily restrained by sight of a female, obviously a lady it collectively notes.

"What the devil did you lock the door for, you idiot?!"

"Sam'l you always say to lock the door whenever I leave the house empty. And being such a poor, dimwitted wretch as you say...Whose letters are so poorly written so as to deserve being ignored..."

"Bess! Time and place..."

"But not so poor a wretch as not to be willing to die with her Sam'l." Hard stare...

Hmmn? Why, Bess...

Shoot. Sir Will glares as the mob collectively sighs appreciatively...

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

'... talking about the abuses of the yard...." ????it be not understood why all the Yard arms be lost, and there must be some mice, as all that suffolk cheese be gone?

matthew newton  •  Link

just out of interest.....
is this the shortest entry Sam makes
in his diary?
if not......

jeannine  •  Link


April 3 1662 is much shorter and I think he may actually have skipped a day before (others may correct me here --didn't have time to scan back on the whole thing). Of note, even when he says nothing WE manage to find something to say about the "nothingness"!


Dan Jenkins  •  Link

Bravo, Mr. Gertz. :-D

A.Hamilton  •  Link

Dear Mr. Deane

the up and coming shipwright, who knows another comer when he sees one.

Glyn  •  Link

On average aren't the entries getting significantly longer? It's nice to have a bit of a breathing space.

Megan H.  •  Link

Sam seems to think rather high of himself in this one. Does anyone know what "abuses of the yard" could mean?

dirk  •  Link

abuses of the yard

Sam is referring to the many abuses taking place in the Navy shipyard, mainly due to a lack of efficient control by the members of the Navy Board. As you proceed through the diary some of those abuses will be discussed in more detail -- as will the measures Sam will be introducing to counter these malpractices.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

“abuses of the yard” Just a guess based on my limited experience of normal human nature.
Approx 10% +/- a few of the materials/stock of any depot be disappearing,[usually called a write off/unaccounted for] ask any CEO about the rate that materials fade away. During the battle for Europe WWII [June 6 44 - May 45] it is said that 70 jeeps each day, were lost from the books, to be found [if looked for] in the back alley's of any Market Town.
The old story of where are the wheel barrows, every day a man leaves the Yard with Paper work saying it be ok to have 15 bricks. Of course he needs to a method of moving the said bricks, but who checks the permission for the wheel barrow.
The Abuses that Samuell cares about would be the supplies and lumber that are unaccounted for, not the misuse of labour on the site by verbal and physical abuse of the hired hands.
This be one of the Reasons Mr. Pepys be the Father of the Navy, he starts putting in cost and other controls, to have value for the dollar spent.
Items that can have purchase power must have controls and accountability [NB. all those credit cards that were issued and used in the Katrina affair , luverly idea, but], always watch those fa[r]tings.
Still the # one problem of helping the world but how to ensure that the cheese gets to the mice and not to the cat.

Second Reading

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

"Somewhat pompous"? Can't a man be pleased with himself sometimes in a PRIVATE diary of his doings, hopes, fears, joys and pains? Or does he have to be modest, deceiving even himself about his feelings and motivations, for the sake of others' prim puritanical sanctimony? In which case what's the point?

In any case, the diary is hardly a record of over-fulfilled Five-Year-Plans! Yesterday, as often, Sam was judging himself: "God forgive me! I was a little moved with envy ..."

I kept a diary, almost daily, for several years, starting when I was seventeen, partly because, in a moment of prescience, I feared looking back in ten or twenty years time and forgetting who I had been. More than 40 years later I still have them, and they really are of no interest to anyone else. For me they are at times uncomfortable reading, but it does no harm to be embarrassed occasionally by one's younger self. In general, I can look back on perceived Triumph and Disaster, and regard both those impostors with relative equanimity!

It is fortunate for us, and for history, that Sam's private thoughts have survived, and painted him , and the society he lived in, "warts and all". Perhaps, when he was older, Sam's memories of his younger self helped him lend a sympathetic ear to his younger friends, relatives and protégés?

JayW  •  Link

I have a box full of my mother's diaries which cover the last twenty-three years of her life, as well as many years' of my own diaries. I fear they would not be of interest to future generations in the same way as Sam's. I write what happens, sometimes how I feel about it, and it may never be read again. And yet I still write almost every day.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

"sometimes how I feel about it": The "sometimes" is key. If the record is for oneself only, a partial record will bring a fuller memory to mind.

NJ Lois  •  Link

Aye, pompous: "Then to the office about business all afternoon with great pleasure seeing myself observed by everybody to be the only man of business of us all but Mr. Coventry." We are all entitled to our own opinion without being criticized.

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