Saturday 14 February 1662/63

Up and to my office, where we met and sat all the morning, only Mr. Coventry, which I think is the first or second time he has missed since he came to the office, was forced to be absent. So home to dinner, my wife and I upon a couple of ducks, and then by coach to the Temple, where my uncle Thomas, and his sons both, and I, did meet at my cozen Roger’s and there sign and seal to an agreement. Wherein I was displeased at nothing but my cozen Roger’s insisting upon my being obliged to settle upon them as the will do all my uncle’s estate that he has left, without power of selling any for the payment of debts, but I would not yield to it without leave of selling, my Lord Sandwich himself and my cozen Thos. Pepys being judges of the necessity thereof, which was done. One thing more that troubles me was my being forced to promise to give half of what personal estate could be found more than 372l., which I reported to them, which though I do not know it to be less than what we really have found, yet he would have been glad to have been at liberty for that, but at last I did agree to it under my own handwriting on the backside of the report I did make and did give them of the estate, and have taken a copy of it upon the backside of one that I have. All being done I took the father and his son Thos. home by coach, and did pay them 30l., the arrears of the father’s annuity, and with great seeming love parted, and I presently to bed, my head akeing mightily with the hot dispute I did hold with my cozen Roger and them in the business.

35 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F  •  Link

A love-fest in honor of St Valentine!

pedro  •  Link

Valentine. (Brewer's Phrase and Fable)

A corruption of galantin (a lover, a dangler), a gallant. St. Valentine was selected for the sweet-hearts' saint because of his name. Similar changes are seen in gallant and valiant.

Bradford  •  Link

And a slight elevation of blood pressure, too, with residual headache after decompression.
Concerning the enforced confession, no need to analyze Sam's feelings: the reiteration of "backside" says all.
But as for the agreement as a whole, if anyone can explain it, I'll give him or her sixpence (old style).

Bradford  •  Link

Make that "enforced concession."

JWB  •  Link

" head akeing mightily..."
And 9 months 'til St. Jude's Day.

Miss Ann fr Home  •  Link

This is a lesson for us all - ensure you have an up-to-date Will, drawn up by a legal practitioner who is experienced in this area of Law. Problems arise every single day, and families fight over what they think is their due. Makes the lawyers rich and the memory of the dearly departed tarnished. Some things never change.

Terry F  •  Link

I join Bradford in an appeal for someone who can clarify the legal doings of the day. He offers sixpence (old style); I the gratitude of me and many others as this "business" seems to be drawing to a whimpering end (if attended by psycho-somatic pain for our hero).

dirk  •  Link

The legal doings of the day...

This is a very complex matter. The best way to make sense of this, I think, is to have a look at Pauline's contribution to the background info on 1 December 2004.…

"Negotiations for an out-of-court settlement which would apply to the whole etate were resumed and agreement was reached in Feb. 1663. [etc]"

Terry F  •  Link

The legal doings of the day…

Dirk, that said, that read (again, earlier), perhaps it's just me, but I still don't understand the terms of the settlement, even with the help of L&M's notes for today.

dirk  •  Link

Legal issues

I think I follow the larger part of Pauline's explanation -- and I'll try to summarize the essentials of it:

After uncle Robert's death, leaving no children of his own, disputes arose about the real estate, which consisted of the Brampton house and its land, together with other property.

According to Robert's will, most of the land was to go Sam and his father -- who were to act as executors of the will. Difficulties arose from the fact that some of the property documents were missing (the so-called "surrenders" for copyhold land). In such a case the land should normally go to the "heir-at-law" i.e. Thomas Pepys -- and this was also what the court decided for the Gravely property in September 1661. The largest property of all though (Brampton) was later awarded to the executors (i.e. Sam), contrary to what the heir-at-law Thomas could have expected. Thomas appealed, which eventually led to today's settlement:

Thomas abandoned his claim on Brampton and other lands, and Sam no longer claimed Gravely. Sam would also be allowed to sell more lands (as executor) if required to pay outstanding debts. Thomas would receive half of any lands worth more than the agreed sum of £372. Of course all outstanding payments due (annuities and legacies), which Sam had not paid so far while waiting for the settlement, were now to be paid too.

(Pauline, please correct me if I went wrong somewhere...)

Terry F  •  Link

Legal issues clarified for me.

Thanks, Dirk.

OzStu  •  Link

..the hot dispute I did hold with my cozen Roger..
Just to reinforce Dirk's last para and explain why Sam had a headache: For some reason Cozen Roger wants Sam to settle debts without selling any land, but Sam (with supporting advice from Lord Sandwich and agreement from Thomas Pepys) rejects this request. Sounds like it got a bit fraught though, hence the headache.
I also think that he's not sure how much the total estate might be worth above 372 pounds and he's a bit worried that he may have to shell out some extra money (half of the extra value) if it turns out to be alot more. However, he wants to settle the matter and so agreed to the arrangement and annotated and sigend both copies of the agreement accordingly.

OzStu  •  Link

On 5 Feb we had "...though I do offer quite to the losing of the profit of the whole estate for 8 or 10 years together..."
I'm wondering whether this is why Cozen Roger wants the estate left intact (and not bits sold off to pay debts), since the profit will be less if the estate is smaller.

dirk  •  Link

"though I do offer quite to the losing of the profit of the whole estate for 8 or 10 years together"

I think today's setlement would void Sam's previous offer on 5 February.

dirk  •  Link

"All being done I took the father and his son Thos. home by coach, and did pay them 30 L."

There would have been a very practical reason to do this. Who would willingly have wanted to walk through the streets of 17th c London with £30 in his purse? -- Roughly equivalent to £2700 today!

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

Sam did not make it easy for us putting all the legal problems into one long sentence.

jeannine  •  Link

Dirk &OzStu, Thanks so much for the summaries. It makes more sense to me with your help.

Miss Ann--Wise words!

stolzi  •  Link

Meanwhile, the ducks.

Ducks yesterday, ducks today, and three more "couple of ducks" to come.

Hope the weather holds.

JWB  •  Link

Aging game birds:
"Game birds, such as doves, pheasant, geese and ducks, require two to three days unless they are older and larger, then four or five days hanging will do, although individual preference is the defining factor. Some early game connoisseurs preferred to allow their pheasant to hang until the body separates from the head. However, such an unpredictable time frame may well to lead to unpredictable taste."…

celtcahill  •  Link

Aging game

The explanation I've heard is that bacteria get at the meat digesting some of the tougher connective tissue making it a lot easier to chew - in this day of rough if any dentistry. There was a scene in 'Shogun' that illustrated this and nearly contemporary with Sam.

slangist  •  Link

legacy explanations were sterling
i knew if i just hung around here long enough some of you would explain the cousinage/cozenage lawsuit things better than L&M did, at least to my poor brainpan. thanks for the community service...

Nix  •  Link

Making a will is one thing --

Remember also to put it somewhere easy to find -- but hard to get into! (Like a safe deposit box.) As lawyer for a university, I've just been reviewing the files in a case from some years back in which the decedent left us much of the estate. The "heirs at law" -- the ones who would inherit in the absence of a will -- raced from the hospital back to the house, and the will disappeared. Where it is known that there was a will, but it can no longer be found, there is a legal presumption that the testator intended to destroy it. Fortunately, my predecessor was able to convince the judge that the circumstances were smelly enough to overcome the presumption, and were able to enforce the will on the basis of a photocopy.

As Samuel would attest, conflicts over inheritance can be very ugly.

Bradford  •  Link

Yes, kudos to Dirk. Let me know where I should post the sixpence. (Alice offered the same reward for an explanation of the verses about the theft of tarts, during the trial near the end of her adventures in Wonderland; but none came forward.)

One riddle remains: what is the significance of the magic number 372?

dirk  •  Link

Well, kudos to Pauline really...

Terry F  •  Link

Dirk, again I second Bradford, and render over my gratitude, as others have!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Coventry's absense...

Typical. The man is the most dedicated, hard-working official in the government but he misses one day and...

Ima Fake  •  Link

It was in Sam's time that the common law created the presumption that a will which could not be found was destroyed. However, if it is established that persons with interest in destroying a will have had an opportunity to do so, the presumption is rebutted.

What strikes me about Sam and his time is how "modern" he is. I just wish that Bush II could meet the fate of Charles I.

Mary  •  Link

The significance of £372.

(per L&M Companion) This was the probate value of Robert Pepys' personal estate (as distinct, I suppose, from those parts of his estate which involved copyhold lands rather than any freehold property).

JonTom Kittredge  •  Link

Charles I and GWB
I think discussions of current politics are generally considered beyond the bounds of discourse for this site, but I would think that implicit endorsements of violence would be right out.

Ima Fake  •  Link

On Saturday, being the 20th day of January 1648, The Lord President of the High Court of Justice with near fourscore of the Members of the said Court, having sixteen Gentlemen with Partisans, and a Sword and a Mace, with their, and other Officers of the said Court marching before them, came to the place ordered to be prepared for their sitting, at the West end of the great Hall at Westminster, where the Lord President in a Crimson Velvet Chair, fixed in the midst of the Court, placed himself, having a Desk with a Crimson Velvet Cushion before him; the rest of the Members placing themselves on each side of him upon the several Seats, or Benches, prepared and hung with Scarlet for that purpose, and the Partisans dividing themselves on each side of the Court before them.
The Court being thus sat, and silence made, the great Gate of the said Hall was let open, to the end, That all persons without exception, desirous to see, or hear, might come into it, upon which the Hall was presently filled, and silence again ordered.

This done, Colonel Thomlinson, who had the charge of the Prisoner, was commanded to bring him to the Court, who within a quarter of an hour's space brought him attended with about twenty Officers, with Partisans marching before him, there being other Gentlemen, to whose care and custody he was likewise committed, marching in his Rear. Being thus brought up within the face of the Court, The Sergeant at Arms, with his Mace, receives and conducts him straight to the Bar, having a Crimson Velvet Chair set before him. After a stern looking upon the Court, and the people in the Galleries on each side of him, he places himself, not at all moving his Hat, or otherwise showing the least respect to the Court; but presently rises up again, and turns about, looking downwards upon the Guards placed on the left side, and on the multitude of Spectators on the right side of the said great Hall. After Silence made among the people, the Act of Parliament for the Trying of Charles Stuart, King of England, was read over by the Clerk of the Court; who sat on one side of a Table covered with a rich Turkey Carpet, and placed at the feet of the said Lord President, upon which table was also laid the Sword and Mace.

Second Reading

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

I wonder how much "cozen" Roger saved them in legal fees by his arbitration/conciliation, and indeed whether he charged his cousins for his services?

Technically, the family tree shows that he was (half) first cousin to both Uncle Thomas and Sam's own father John. Sam was closer to Roger than to some relatives, but Roger seemed nonetheless keen to see that justice was done in such a way that did not further a family feud.

JayW  •  Link

Having read all the explanations and links above with many thanks to the previous contributors, I think I have got my head round the land issues. However, two things that Sam specifically mentioned have passed with little or no comment. Firstly, he eventually agreed to 'settle' all my uncle's estate that he has left. Does this mean he kept Brampton for his lifetime only, and then it passed to his cousins, or was he referring to the complete agreement whereby he kept Brampton and they took Gravely? And he was 'forced to promise' a half share of anything else he finds, which he has agreed to, and noted to that effect on the reverse of the list he gave them and the one he kept himself, although he doesn't think there is any more to be added. Nowadays, personal estate would be anything except land. So the £376 would be the value of cash, household goods and anything else as listed by Sam for his cousins.

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

Hanging wild fowl or aging beef decomposes the connective tissue when lysosomes in the cells break down releasing many kinds (~50) of enzymes that break down biological tissues; I don't think bacteria play any part.

Beef is butchered, lysosomes break down tissue, and the cuts are allowed dry which concentrates the flavor. I doubt if fowl tend to dry. As the beef dries a fungus may grow on the surface and produce a crust. Aging is also a way of preserving beef so that it may be stored. IIRC dried beef has been mentioned in the diary.

I've eaten reconstituted beef produced this way in Brasil, it's a specialty of the Brasilian state of Minas Gerais, and is quite tasty.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘hang, v. < The history of this word involves that of two Old English and one Old Norse verbs: (1) the Old English strong hón . . transitive; (2) the Old English weak hangian . . ; (3) the Old Norse causal verb hęngjan transitive = Old High German hęngan . .
. . I. Transitive senses. 1. b. To suspend or tie up (bacon, beef, etc.) in the air to mature, to dry for preservation, or (game, venison) to become ‘high’.
1599 H. Buttes Dyets Dry Dinner sig. I6v, Fallow Deere..fat, very well chased, hang'd untill it be tender.
. . 1863 Morning Star 1 Jan. 5 Potter..said game is not fit to eat until it has been hung.’

Game is still hung in this way in the game larders of country houses, placed on the north side of the house to keep them from warming up in the sun. Traditional butchers hang their beef before they butcher it but this is becoming rarer as the customers who appreciate and are willing to pay extra for the resulting flavour and tenderness die off.

Here's a modern model:…

John York  •  Link

Chris Squire, thanks for the OED extract. I notice the first reference is to hanging fallow deer until it is tender comes from 1599.
Contrast this with Dirk's annotation on 13 February 166/63
"In the 17th c most if not all game was eaten within days after the kill -- as was the case with all meat. Hanging game to "improve" the taste was not yet a custom."
It certainly looks as though venison was routinely hung at the end of the 16th Century - so why not other meat?

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