Saturday 14 March 1662/63

Up betimes and to my office, where we sat all the morning, and a great rant I did give to Mr. Davis, of Deptford, and others about their usage of Michell, in his Bewpers, which he serves in for flaggs, which did trouble me, but yet it was in defence of what was truth. So home to dinner, where Creed dined with me, and walked a good while in the garden with me after dinner, talking, among other things, of the poor service which Sir J. Lawson did really do in the Streights, for which all this great fame and honour done him is risen. So to my office, where all the afternoon giving maisters their warrants for this voyage, for which I hope hereafter to get something at their coming home.

In the evening my wife and I and Ashwell walked in the garden, and I find she is a pretty ingenuous1 girl at all sorts of fine work, which pleases me very well, and I hope will be very good entertainment for my wife without much cost. So to write by the post, and so home to supper and to bed.

36 Annotations

First Reading

Australian Susan  •  Link

"great rant"

Sam obviously v. frustrated here. But is this with Davis or Mi[t]chell? Does he think the latter has been unfairly treated? Or is he cross that Davis has been buying/supplying inferior bunting?
Creed and Lawson

Is what Creed reports to Sam just malicious gossip? I thought Lawson was a genuinely good naval commander. Why are people seeking to undermine his (deserved, surely) good reputation?
Two slightly mean moneywise aspects of Sam

"...for which I hope hereafter to get something at their coming home."

".....very good entertainment for my wife without much cost."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...the poor service which Sir J. Lawson did really do in the Streights..."

Right. Not like our gallant sea dogs Pepys and Creed.

"Pepys. I've passed on your report on the truth of Sir John Lawson's action in the Straights to the Duke."

"My report Mr. Coventry? I..."

"Now, my lad don't be modest. Your friend Creed here..." (Sly grin from our Creed) "...was good enough to see that I received a copy in time to present His Grace. The Duke was most impressed, more impressed, Samuel. He'd never quite seen you as a naval tactician."

"Well, sir. I..."

"And I have grand news for you, Samuel, my lad. His Grace has decided that a man of your ability in sea tactics belongs at sea, not chained to the desk like our old fossils Batten and Penn. Naturally I told him of the many times you'd expressed to me a desire to man and fight the King's ships yourself."


"And so, my boy, tis a great day for you. You are made the Duke's official naval advisor at sea, with the captaincy of the Reliant. Your commission..." Places a parchment scroll in Sam's trembling hands...


"Now, now. No need for thanks, lad. And you must be off and about gathering your sea gear, Captain. His Grace will be sailing with you on manuevers this very night."

"But, sir. The office..."

"Not to worry, boy. Though we'll miss you dearly we have stout help here to handle things. We'll keep house here while you win glory for yourself and your King."

Second sly grin from Creed...Awaiting those blessed words...

"And don't think we've forgotten you, good John Creed. Clearly you've played a hand in educating our Pepys in all these matters and he'll have need of your able assist as his naval staff aide. My God, it's as true a sorrow to Lord Sandwich...He told me so personally when we authorized your sea commissions this morning...As to me to lose you both..."

Creed's grin freezes...

"...but thanks to our Sam's foresight we have stout Will Hewer here to step in and take over as Clerk of the Acts and in both your places for Lord Sandwich. Now, three cheers for our gallant seafaring lads!"

Batten, Penn, Minnes quite eager to give three hearty...Most hearty...Cheers.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

And think how much he'll save away at sea...

Louise H  •  Link

"So to write by the post..."

Sam used this phrase yesterday as well (and probably many other times that I haven't noticed), but I'm not sure what it means. What post?

(I believe this is only my second annotation, but I lurk religiously; this site is one of only four that I visit daily. Many thanks to all posters, Phil, and Sam of course, for the wonderful education and entertainment you give us!)

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Now sit right back and you’ll hear a tale...

A tale of a fateful trip...

That started from this English port...

Aboard this mighty ship...

The skipper, late Clerk of the Acts...His assistant Creed unsure......

One hundred fifty sailed that day on simple maneuvers...

Simple maneuvers...

The weather started getting rough...

The great warship was tossed...

Said Capt Pepys ‘I wrote the navy’s book’...

Cried the sailors... ‘We are lost...’

Screamed the sailors... ‘We are lost!’...

The ship’s aground on the shore of this desolate, rocky shoal...

With Capt. Pepys...

Creed, his ever-sobbing aide...

The Duke of York...And his wife.. (she insisted...)

Lady Castlemaine...And a certain disguised king... (Jamie, you said this would be a three hours’ cruise...)

And seventy-five angry and embittered sailor survivors...


TerryF  •  Link

"Sam obviously v. frustrated here."

L&M say with Davis who unfairly complained about M[t]chell, who later was paid a lower fee; "Pepys had reason to believe that Davis favoured Whistler, a rival contractor."

Roy Feldman  •  Link

Anyone care to translate this?

"... about their usage of Michell, in his Bewpers, which he serves in for flaggs, which did trouble me..."

One Michell was flying bunting instead of flags from the ships? I'm afraid I'm a bit at sea here (har, har)...

Paul Chapin  •  Link

For Louise ...

The post is the mail.

JWB  •  Link

Old Navy words don't fade away. They come back as acronyms.

Clement  •  Link

"In 1656, a new and regular Post-Office was established, by the authority of the Protector and his Parliament, upon nearly the same plan as at present; and in 1660, an act of Parliament passed, re-establishing the regulations of 1656, with some improvements, and authorizing the king to establish a Post-Office in London, and Post-Houses in such parts of the country as were unprovided, both on the post and by-roads"
From Ackerman's 'Microcosm of London' 1810. This is from the link from at this site's encyclopedia entry:…

TerryF  •  Link

"Is what Creed reports to Sam [about Lawson] just malicious gossip?"

Perhaps it is the household line about a chief rival of Mountagu/Sandwich, whose service in the in the Streights [the Mediterranean] brought him less glory. Lawson is a sailor's rock-star; wooden-shoe be a little jealous of his celebrity and misunderestimate him?

That's my present take on it.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"by the post"

Could this be the equivalent of the phrase "to catch the post" -- i.e. getting the letters written and to the Post Office before they were collected by the postman in the evening for dispatch onward.

Mary  •  Link

"by the post"

Sam is probably making a distinction between letters sent by the official postal system and others which he sends from time to time either by safe hand or by the regular carrier who plies the route between Huntingdon and London.

Mail to specific areas of the country left London on specific days of the week. Thus, if you missed a 'post' day, you might look for a traveller or a carrier to take your mail for you rather than wait for the next post day.

Pedro  •  Link

"talking, among other things, of the poor service which Sir J. Lawson did really do in the Streights, for which all this great fame and honour done him is risen."

Sam, the master of the put down.

In defence of Lawson, some of his previous form...

"During the First Anglo-Dutch War (1652-4), Lawson commanded the Fairfax. He was promoted to vice-admiral of the red squadron in the reorganisation of the navy that followed the English defeat at Dungeness in November 1652. At the battle of Portland in February 1653, Lawson's skilful manoeuvring to assist Blake was a major factor in the English victory. Promoted to rear-admiral of the fleet, Lawson commanded the George at the battle of North Foreland and bore the brunt of the fighting on the first day of the battle. He also fought at Scheveningen, the final battle of the war, after which he was promoted to vice-admiral and given command of the North Sea fleet blockading the Dutch coast. Like his fellow admirals Blake, Monck and Penn, Lawson was awarded a gold chain and medal for his services in the Dutch war.

In October 1654, he endorsed (and probably authored) a naval petition calling for the abandonment of impressment, provision for widows and the settlement of other grievances. . Regarded with suspicion by Cromwell, Lawson was too popular with officers and crews to be dismissed."…

andy  •  Link

So to write by the post

I think I remember this on a Saturday night before - maybe in 1661? Sam rushing to catch the post before he went somewhere, Portsmouth? - (debate on this blog about it) Suggests a regular collection.

adam w  •  Link

Concerns about money?
Australian Susan suggests Pepys is 'mean, moneywise' - I think this is unfair given the context of his life. He was not from a wealthy background, and there were no safety nets: if he did not amass a sufficient fortune during his working years to support himself and dependants if a time came when he could not work, then destitution was the alternative. Even his house is tied to his job. He does not yet have the security of wealth, to be able to employ a companion for his wife without watching the pennies. Yes, he treats himself to a few luxuries along the way (maybe more than he allows Elizabeth) - but he always reports the cost.
As for expecting favours back from the 'maisters' (does that reflect 17thC pronounciation?), how else could a man make money in those times? Over & again he reports behaviour we would regard as corrupt nowadays - but in his time, the maisters would expect their warrants to come at a price, and Sam would be thought a fool if he did not expect a cut.

jeannine  •  Link

So today's theme of corruption, money and the post office are all brought together by none other than ....Lady Castlemaine, who in 1667 will use her "influence with the treasury commissioners to secure a 1,000 pound pension out of the profits of the post office" (Wilson, p 219)...It seems that if there's a potential for a revenue flow, there's a potential for corruption.

Stolzi  •  Link

"Bewpers, which he serves in for flaggs"

Bunting supplied by Michell to be used for the making of flags, I think, Mr. Feldman.

jeannine  •  Link

"Now sit right back and you’ll hear a tale"...Gee Robert, Gilligan must be turning over in his grave! You may actually have found a way out of your day job, as this would no doubt be a hit in reality TV today. You'll just need to throw in someone to play the role of the Professor, perhaps Sir Issac Newton, and you're all set!
And for those in doubt of the possibilities of bringing together a diverse group from Restoration England and making a play (show) about them, look no further than George Bernard Shaw...…

So Robert, when this takes off and you're rich and famous, please remember us little people.....

Bradford  •  Link

"The distinction of the two words ingenious and ingenuous by which the former indicates mental, and the second moral qualities, was not made in Pepys’s day."

And how they parted: there's quite a gap between being highly clever creatively ("She found an ingenious solution to the problem of the Gordian Knot") and straightforward to the point of being naive ("So ingenuous was he that when his boss asked him what was ethically wrong with the contract he told him").

JWB  •  Link

bewpers to Irish pennants
With Fr. counterreformation, some Huguenots fled to N. Ireland and with abundant water power & cheap labor created a market-beating linen used by the Royal Navy for uniforms and sails. A loose thread from this cloth called an "Irish pennant", slang used by sailors & Marines today.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

From on line etymology dictionary:
ingenuous:1598,from Latin ingenuus "with the virtue of freeborn people,of noble character,frank".
ingenious:1483,from Latin:ingeniousus "of good capacity, gifted with genius"

JWB  •  Link

" great rant "
It was just Thurs. Sam wrote of seeing Uncle Wight again after the late family dustup. Look to Aug. 26.'62 for Wight's interest in flags and we may just discern an edge to a "safety net" adam w thinks missing in Sam's life.

TerryF  •  Link

Pedro, a hero in the past, what did Sir J. Lawson really do in the Streights?

Jacqueline Gore  •  Link

"The Ballad of Capt Pepys" LOL! I would second Jeannine but we would lose our Robert. (and I guess your place would lose one I imagine is quite a brilliant whatever you do at CDC, Robert)

But was Sam ranting for or against Michell?

dirk  •  Link

Sam & "the post"

re - andy

I've found 23 references by Sam to "writing by the post", 16 of which on a Saturday (almost always in the evening, before he goes to bed):
Friday 13 March 1662/63
Tuesday 10 March 1662/63
Saturday 7 March 1663
Saturday 7 February 1662/63
Saturday 13 December 1662
Saturday 20 September 1662
Thursday 28 August 1662 **
Saturday 26 July 1662
Saturday 19 April 1662
Tuesday 18 March 1661/62
Saturday 1 March 1661/62
Thursday 27 February 1661/62
Thursday 13 February 1661/62
Saturday 25 January 1661/62
Saturday 18 January 1661/62
Thursday 9 January 1661/62
Saturday 21 December 1661
Saturday 7 December 1661
Saturday 2 November 1661
Saturday 1 December 1660
Saturday 17 November 1660
Saturday 3 November 1660
Saturday 20 October 1660

And one to receiving news "by the post":
Monday 15 April 1661

It seems to me there's an overwhelming argument for Sunday (or possibly Monday, because Sunday is of course the Lord's day) = post day...

Pedro  •  Link

"what did Sir J. Lawson really do in the Streights?"

Terry, I don’t think we will find what Lawson actually did, unless Jeannine can see anything around the summer of 61 in Montagu's journal. My own humble opinion is that he did what he was asked…

Lawson had sailed under Sandwich and they had three objectives, to deal with the Barbaries, to secure the handover of Tangier before the marriage, and to bring over the new Queene. Sandwich was with Lawson on July 29th 1661 when they arrived at Algiers. After a council of war, he sent demands to the Algerians. They were refused as they said the death of Cromwell had abrogated Blake’s treaty. The weather favoured defence and the fleet stood of to wait for better weather. One week later Sandwich left for Lisbon with 5 ships, leaving Lawson with 10 ships of the line, to make as much nuisance of himself as he could.

Sep 6th Sandwich arrives at Lisbon. Soon after arriving he receives the news of a substantial success gained by Lawson against the Algerians. Two merchant ships and two men of war had been captured and another driven ashore. Considering that part of the mission sufficiently dsicharged Montagu sent orders to Lawson to join him in Tangier Bay.

At the end of January 62, Montagu was able to detatch a powerful squadron under Lawson to resume action against the Algerians. In this Lawson was once again successful, even extorting a treaty from them later in the year.

The news of the success, if I remember rightly, was greeted well by the “city”, while Montagu had arrived back in England. And Sam and Montagu had the discussion…

“And here he told me, how the terms at Argier were wholly his; and that he did plainly tell Lawson and agree with him, that he would have the honour of them, if they should ever be agreed to; and that accordingly they did come over hither entitled, “Articles concluded on by Sir J. Lawson, according to instructions received from His Royal Highness James Duke of York, &c., and from His Excellency the Earle of Sandwich…”…

jeannine  •  Link

Lawson's activities in the Streights...
Sandwich's Journal dated Sept 10, 1661 says "Tuesday. Came in a French settee which had been but 15 days from Algiers. Bought news that Sir John Lawson had taken the 2 ships that were lading wood at Bugia and tow other Algiers men of war, and run another ashore, and that when we shot against Algiers we killed them many men and beat down many houses, and that they have made a greatheap of our shot in the Palace Yard...."
Oct 26, 1661 "....The Princess [ship] bought word also of a Turks man of war, one of the best sailers of all Algiers, that was chased by him and put on shore near Malaga by Sir John Lawson and the Fairfax. They have taken all the men, 150."

language hat  •  Link

"Bugia" is presumably Bougie, or Bejaia, a port in northeast Algeria.

Ima Fake  •  Link

“A great rant I did give to Mr. Davis, of Deptford, and others about their usage of Michell, in his Bewpers, which he serves in for flaggs.”

1. Michell is a high-ranking naval officer who has been given a position in the Bureau of Personnel rather than a sea command. Davis and his friends disagree, wrongly, about his decisions.


2. Michell is a cloth merchant who has sold the Navy cloth from which signal flags have been made. Davis and his friends disagree, wrongly, about the quality or price of his cloth.

Patricia  •  Link

"rant" So much that we think of as new is actually old!

Second Reading

Gerald Berg  •  Link

Two long walks in the garden on one day in winter no less. Just how big and where was this garden?

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘rant, n. < Dutch randen . .
. . 1.†b. A violent scolding. Obs. rare.
1663 S. Pepys Diary 14 Mar. (1971) IV. 73 A great rant I did give to Mr. Davis..and others about their hard usage of Michell.’

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

GB: March 14 Old Style = March 25 New Style. Nowadays this is well into Spring in London; Pepys lived in the Little Ice Age, so winters were longer and colder than now but the weather was just as variable from day to day. So when a mild day came they walked out to enjoy it, knowing that the following day might be cold and miserable again.

I don’t know what is known about the garden. I guess it was designed for recreational walking: laid out with gravel walks round flower beds bordered by box hedges, and they walked round and round, admiring no doubt the budding bulbs and looking out for any other signs of spring:

‘OH, to be in England now that April ’s there
And whoever wakes in England sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England—now! . . ‘

Home Thoughts from Abroad - Robert Browning…

Gerald Berg  •  Link

OH, for the love of England!

Having watched Monty Don's shows looking at historic gardens I'd be very curious as to what Pepy's countrymen expected from their gardens, personally and socially. Maybe Monty should do some home turf reporting?

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