Tuesday 5 May 1663

Up betimes and to my office, and there busy all the morning, among other things walked a good while up and down with Sir J. Minnes, he telling many old stories of the Navy, and of the state of the Navy at the beginning of the late troubles, and I am troubled at my heart to think, and shall hereafter cease to wonder, at the bad success of the King’s cause, when such a knave as he (if it be true what he says) had the whole management of the fleet, and the design of putting out of my Lord Warwick, and carrying the fleet to the King, wherein he failed most fatally to the King’s ruin.

Dined at home, and after dinner up to try my dance, and so to the office again, where we sat all the afternoon. In the evening Deane of Woolwich went home with me and showed me the use of a little sliding ruler, less than that I bought the other day, which is the same with that, but more portable; however I did not seem to understand or even to have seen anything of it before, but I find him an ingenious fellow, and a good servant in his place to the King.

Thence to my office busy writing letters, and then came Sir W. Warren, staying for a letter in his business by the post, and while that was writing he and I talked about merchandise, trade, and getting of money. I made it my business to enquire what way there is for a man bred like me to come to understand anything of trade. He did most discretely answer me in all things, shewing me the danger for me to meddle either in ships or merchandise of any sort or common stocks, but what I have to keep at interest, which is a good, quiett, and easy profit, and once in a little while something offers that with ready money you may make use of money to good profit. Wherein I concur much with him, and parted late with great pleasure and content in his discourse, and so home to supper and to bed. It has been this afternoon very hot and this evening also, and about 11 at night going to bed it fell a-thundering and lightening, the greatest flashes enlightening the whole body of the yard, that ever I saw in my life.

26 Annotations

First Reading

TerryF  •  Link

"Sir W. Warren...and I talked about merchandise, trade, and getting of money"

To paraphrase the last line in the film "Casablance,"
"Sir William, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." http://www.imdb.com/title/tt00345…

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"wherein he failed most fatally to the King’s ruin"

Could someone explain this a bit? I don't see information in the background of Sir John to back up his claim that he "had the whole management of the fleet, and the design of putting out of my Lord Warwick, and carrying the fleet to the King"...

OzStu  •  Link

..shewing me the danger for me to meddle either in ships..
Sounds to me that the advice was to only venture what you can afford to lose, and we know that Sam still feels his financial position less than adequate and dislikes to part with his accumulated savings.

TerryF  •  Link

“wherein he failed most fatally to the King’s ruin”

Good question, Todd! (I know it's a good Q because I scratched my head about it too.) L&M say that the King (Charles I) "tried to win over the fleet" (whatever that means) from Warwick, the latter dismissed five pro-royalists who were commanders, including Mennes, but there is no evidence he was an actor in any plot.

Mennes certainly did not have "the whole management of the fleet" in his hand; Warwick did. Sounds like Mennes is exaggerating his role again, but if so, the effect is bathetic: why did he fail?!

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Amazing! how people will teach another the tricks and knowledge of the trade, especially the most informed ones, if asked pleasantly and diplomatically by the listener.
Minnes,Warren and especially Deane, gave Samuell an full semester of information.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Normal "... Sounds like Mennes is exaggerating his role again..."

Mary  •  Link

"while that was writing"

A further example of the passive construction that we discussed on April 12th 1663, when the drunken boy was "carrying" to the new stocks.

language hat  •  Link

"the advice was to only venture what you can afford to lose"
No, the advice was not to place your money in risky investments like stocks and ship ventures but rather to keep it in a nice safe interest-bearing account. (Rather conservative advice to give a young guy like Pepys, but probably wise in an age of speculative frenzy and suddenly popped bubbles.)

The "common stocks" thing interests me; what was the state of the stock market in London at this time? I know the Amsterdam Stock Exchange started in 1602 (the Dutch East India Company was the first company to issue stocks and bonds), but I don't know the history of the English market, and there's no article in the L&M Companion.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

"In the evening Deane of Woolwich went home with me and showed me the use of a little sliding ruler, less than that I bought the other day, which is the same with that, but more portable; however I did not seem to understand or even to have seen anything of it before...."

I find this a fascinating glimpse into the history of technology in action: Sam, working hard to be up to date with the latest calculation techniques and aids, finds Deane the shipwright a step ahead, with a tool that is as good but smaller and cheaper than one Sam bought just the other day. Think how much of our own sense of living in a dynamic age comes from just this kind of progress -- cheaper faster lighter comuters and pocket calculators and GPS devices being only a few examples -- and I think you get a glimpse of the ferment of the 1660s. I should add thatI find that the same drive for mastery that leads to new inventions shows up writ large in Sam's innovations in naval administration, and even in his conversation with Warren about good investments. The modern age has begun.

TerryF  •  Link

“the advice"

Given their subsequent history seems to me to be a division of labor -- that Pepys be content to remain Mr. Inside, picking up what he can from ventures that others with the experience like Warren has, be Mr. Outside.

language hat, I had the same first question, but the LSE traces its first beginnings to 1698 when "John Castaing begins to issue 'at this Office in Jonathan’s Coffee-house' a list of stock and commodity prices called 'The Course of the Exchange and other things'."

On a related note: "Lloyd's earliest home was Edward Lloyd's coffee house, firmly established by 1688 in Tower Street in the City of London. This small club of marine underwriters moved to Lombard Street, closer to the heart of the City, in 1691." http://www.lloyds.com/About_Us/Th…

The coffee-house, not the tavern is where the future financial action is.

TerryF  •  Link

"common stocks"

Those Warren talks about might be timbers.

Pedro  •  Link

“the danger for me to meddle either in ships”

Something that may be of interest from Anglo-Portuguese Trade (LME Shaw), and around the time of Sam…

Most ships were owned by merchants, but not built by them. Merchants puchased parts of ships, each ship being owned by 10 to 20 members in a shareholding, and managed by one or two of the members. These were known as ship’s husbands and drew a comission or lump sum from returns of voyages.

Sometimes the Masters of the ships saved enough to buy a share.

There were no limited liabilty companiess, or marine insurance, and so Bottomry Bonds Were taken out…


Business was conducted by word of mouth. A merchant seeking a carrier for his cargo in London would go to the Royal Exchange to find a ship. Not until the end of the 1600’s were brokers used.

Deals that were concluded were formalized by a scrivener.

Pedro  •  Link

but what I have to keep at interest, which is a good, quiett, and easy profit, and once in a little while something offers that with ready money you may make use of money to good profit.

It appears to me that Sam sees there is big money to be made in the market. Warren is saying that he should avoid the high risk stratergies, he should stick to earning steady, easy money in the way he knows best. But in doing so he may make use of, from time to time, a bit of the “ready money” for a gamble.

TerryF  •  Link

Poor Mennes lacks companionship and a theatre of action.

A man of action and ready sociability, the stories the older Mennes tells are about his expoits at sea two decades prior and not his days of drink, doggerel and fraternity.

I have added two huge posts in the Background notes on his literary side to render his life and persona more comprehensible. http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclo…

dirk  •  Link

"There were no limited liabilty companies" -- re Pedro

Not quite true. Corporate companies of some sort, limiting liability (and dividends) of the shareholders to an agreed 'share' have a long history...

"Early corporations of the commercial sort were formed under frameworks set up by governments of states to undertake tasks which appeared too risky or too expensive for individuals or governments to embark upon. The alleged oldest commercial corporation in the world, the Stora Kopparberg mining community in Falun, Sweden, obtained a charter from King Magnus Eriksson in 1347. Many European nations chartered corporations to lead colonial ventures, such as the Dutch East India Company..."

The Dutch VOC [East India Company] -- oldest share in existence 1606 -- picture & some history

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"The Way to be Rich..." Chapter fifteen:

"So, ye have secured your position in your government post acquired through a powerful patron, preferably a relative. And though diligent effort have advanced in trust to the point where ye have powerful influence in said post. Further, ye have accumulated through the strict principles of thrift outlined in Chapter seven a reasonable excess sum of money. Congratulations, friend!

Now as ye step out on the broader stage ye have won entry to, tis time to seek the advice of some currently successful and powerful figure in business, one not of, but holding ties to your office, to guide you. One who, ideally, has great financial interest in his connection to your office and to you personally, providing at one fell stroke both knowledge of the current business world to you and an intimation to him that ye would not be adverse to any financial "help" or "advices" he might direct your way.

However take ye care to avoid..."

"What? What?" Sam eyes the page, flipping frantically.

"...Continued in book two."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Ha, ha Pleeps. Those were the days."

"Aye, Sir John. Ummn it's Pepys, Sir John."

"Yes, Pleeps. I had the whole command of the Navy practically in me pocket, lad. Ready to oust that radical Warwick and hand the fleet over to the late King...God commend his royal soul...I was."

"Indeed, Sir John. Well, I must be about..."

"There we were Peepys..."

"Pepys, Sir John."

"...Just I and a few gallant lads brave enough to face down those rogues and traitors. Our lives hanging on by a thread..."

"I thought you controlled the fleet, Sir John?"

"Yes, well I was to command...For the late King, mind you. But Warwick was a treacherous dog...Had his men in the key positions..."

Naturally, like sane commander... Sam thinks.

"...We fought like heroes, Pelps, heroes, lad. The whole war's outcome hinging on our success. I myself fought Warwick to a sword's point and would have had the rascal down...Had it not been for the other thirty dogs who then set upon me."

Last time it was fifteen...Sam notes to self.

adam w  •  Link

"however I did not seem to understand or even to have seen anything of it before"
We know Sam has seen a sliding ruler before, and probably understands it perfectly well, having bought one himself "the other day".
The word "seem" here implies that he is playing a part - he's testing Deane's knowledge, ingenuity and honesty by pretending ignorance. Hence the conclusion "an ingenious fellow, and a good servant" is all about Deane, not about the ruler at all.

Nix  •  Link

Mennes and "the whole management of the fleet" --

From the article on Mennes in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:

In 1642 he was back in the navy and on 23 February, as captain of the Lion, was entrusted with taking the queen over to the Netherlands. Having landed Henrietta Maria at Helvoetsluys he returned at once; the king had waited at Dover for news of the queen's safe landfall, and when Mennes was able to report this on 25 February he was knighted. On 26 April he had orders to press men for the summer guard and on 1 May was named rear-admiral. He had originally been posted to the St George, but it was as captain of the Victory that he refused to acquiesce in the parliamentary takeover of the fleet on 2 July. He had, according to Clarendon, been ashore with Warwick, who refused to let him return to his own ship but took him aboard the flagship and tried to induce him to join the rebels. On his refusal, he was put ashore (Clarendon, Hist. rebellion, 2.218). However, the exchange of letters between Warwick and Mennes indicates that the latter, having on 2 July received the king's command to refuse Warwick's orders, had not attended aboard the James and was consequently told of his ‘discharge’ on 4 July (Powell and Timings, 15–17).

. . . .

In May 1645 Mennes replaced Pennington as the king's nominal vice-admiral. With the revolt of 1648 the king had a fighting fleet once more and Mennes resumed service afloat, though losing his flag. He also lost his estates—chiefly property in Bedfordshire inherited from his recently dead elder brother—sequestered by parliament. When Rupert's squadron left Helvoetsluys in January 1649 Mennes was captain of the Swallow, in which he led a successful detachment in search of prizes. He then sailed with the rest of the royalist fleet to Lisbon. In 1650, while the ships were still in the Tagus, Mennes left to attach himself to the exiled court, with which he remained until the Restoration. He served principally as a secret agent (and since little is known of his activities he would seem to have been effective); in March 1655 he was sent from Cologne, where the king was, to Flushing to monitor the posts. Mennes also acted as medical adviser to the exiled cavaliers, being an amateur venerealogist.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Excellent, succinct information! Thanks, Nix!

jeannine  •  Link

Nix--My thanks too for the fantastic summary, but now (unlike polite Aust. Susan) I digress. I'm embarrassed in doing so, but here goes anyway...
If Mennes was an "amateur venerealogist" he should have left the Naval practice to devote himself to his "amateur interest"--he would have made a fortune in Charles II's court! He'd never run out of customers!

Second Reading

GrannieAnnie  •  Link

Oh, to have had a flexible job where we could dine "at home, and after dinner up to try my dance, and so to the office again" !
And how similar were slide rulers then to the one I had to learn to use which of course is as obsolete now as I am?

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

It seems very likely that Sam's slide rule would have been one of WilliamOughtred's, or a copy thereof.


The crucial invention was that of logarithmic scales. Let me see whether I can make sense of it for a lay person.

1) "logarithm" is really a fancy name for power: eg as in 2 to the power 3, so as 2³ = 8, the logarithm to the base 2 of 8 is 3.
Remember, the power of logarithms is that the logarithm is the power.

2) if you times/divide numbers expressed as a common base to different powers, you can just add/subtract the powers. eg 32×8 = 2⁵×2³ = 2⁵⁺³ = 2⁸ = 216; and 32÷8 = 2⁵÷2³ = 2⁵⁻³ = 2² =4.
These powers could be represented by lengths on a piece of paper or a ruler.

3) you can have fractional powers: eg 2 to the power ½ (0.5) is the square root of 2; 2 to the power of 0.1 (one tenth) is the tenth root of 2.

4) Common logarithms use 10 as a base, so, as 10² = 100, the logarithm to the base of 10 of 100 is 2. Using fractional powers, you can find a logarithm for any positive number. eg 10⁰·³⁰¹⁰ is 10⁰·¹×10⁰·¹×10⁰·¹×10⁰·⁰⁰¹ (remember, add the powers up) and approximately equals 2. Hence - the common logarithm of 2 is approximately 0.3010: (REMEMBER- the logarithm IS the power.)

5) A logarithmic scale on a ruler is very non linear for the numbers: that means that the distance between 1 and 2 is not the same as the distance between 2 and 3, and both are different from the distances between 3 and 4, etc etc. BUT the differences between powers of 10 are equal. So, for example, the differences between 10⁰, 10¹, and 10², that is 1, and 10, and 10 and 100 (0r 10⁰·¹,10⁰·²,10⁰·³; that is approx 1.26,1.58, 1.99 respectively) ARE the same.

A slide rule is marked in real numbers, but with the common logarithms of their differences between them. As to multiply/divide you add/subtract powers, that is logarithms (the logarithm IS the power), moving forward or backward on the scale is multiplying/dividing rather than adding and subtracting.

6) Because the Hindu-Arabic number system we use is based on ten digits, and place value is determined by powers of ten, you only need a limited range on the slide rule to do any calculation; the rest can be done by moving decimal points.


John York  •  Link

Coming up tomorrow at Tennants Auctions Leyburn (available on line through The-Saleroom.com):
Lot 2042 - Pepys (Samuel) The Diary of Samuel Pepys, 1893-6, Bell, thirteen volumes, including Index, 1899; Pepysiana, 1899; Correspondence of Samuel Pepys, 1926, (two volumes), and Further Correspondence of Samuel Pepys, 1929, t.e.g., uniform cloth gilt; Combe (William), The First Tour of Doctor Syntax ..; The Second Tour .., The Third Tour .., 1855, Nattali and Bond, three volumes, coloured plates, t.e.g., uniform half morocco by Galwey; Thackeray (William Makepeace), A collection of six novels, uniformly bound with t.e.g., in half crimson morocco by Sotherans; with nine others Estimated at £200 to £400.
Lot 2043 - [Pepys (Samuel)] Memoires Relating to the State of the Royal Navy of England, For Ten Years, Determin'd December 1688, 1690, large paper, portrait frontis, folding plate, calf (re-backed)
Estimated at £600 to £1,000
All plus buyers premium @ 21.5%

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