Saturday 1 August 1663

Up betimes and got me ready, and so to the office and put things in order for my going. By and by comes Sir G. Carteret, and he and I did some business, and then Mr. Coventry sending for me, he staying in the boat, I got myself presently ready and down to him, he and I by water to Gravesend (his man Lambert with us), and there eat a bit and so mounted, I upon one of his horses which met him there, a brave proud horse, all the way talking of businesses of the office and other matters to good purpose.

Being come to Chatham, we put on our boots and so walked to the yard, where we met Commissioner Pett, and there walked up and down looking and inquiring into many businesses, and in the evening went to the Commissioner’s and there in his upper Arbor sat and talked, and there pressed upon the Commissioner to take upon him a power to correct and suspend officers that do not their duty and other things, which he unwillingly answered he would if we would own him in it. Being gone thence Mr. Coventry and I did discourse about him, and conclude that he is not able to do the same in that yard that he might and can and it maybe will do in another, what with his old faults and the relations that he has to most people that act there. After an hour or two’s discourse at the Hill-house before going to bed, I see him to his and he me to my chamber, he lying in the Treasurer’s and I in the Controller’s chambers.

21 Annotations

First Reading

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

DrCari's annotation of 27 July ("Sam’s swelling in the perianal region is likely inflammation of his old incision") seems borne out by the fact that Sam is ready to get back in the saddle again. Had the swelling that was the "bigness of the bag of a silkworm" been a hemorrhoid, he'd most likely still be in a lot of pain...

JWB  •  Link

Arbor scientiae boni et mali?

TerryF  •  Link

And the fruit of the discussion of Commissioner Pett is that he needs to get out to other yards and see and practice what is needful for one to be rightly run.

JWB, methinks you have the image perfectly!

Australian Susan  •  Link

Sam shows signs here of being pleased with being treated as a person of account: he notes that he has been given a "brave proud horse" to ride (like arriving at the airport and finding you've been given a car rental upgrade?)and then when they go to bed, he gets the Big Official Bed Chamber (upgrade to executive suite at hotel?).


I'm puzzled here. Surely, you would have to have boots to ride in, so why are they changing into boots at the Yard? Or are these something like wellies?

Roy Feldman  •  Link

"After an hour or two's discourse at the Hill-house before going to bed, I see him to his and he me to my chamber, he lying in the Treasurer's and I in the Controller's chambers."

This sounds like some kind of logic puzzle. How is Pepys able to see Coventry off to bed in one room, while Coventry is able to repay the favor by seeing Pepys off to bed in another room, all in the same night?

"The man sleeping in the Treasurer's chamber is not Sir J. Minnes.

"Mr. Pepys is not sleeping in the Secretary's chamber.

"A proud, brave horse was ridden by either Mr. Pepys or Mr. Coventry.

"The man who rode Mr. Creed's horse is sleeping in the Chancellor's chamber.

"Now match the four men to the four horses they rode and the four chambers they slept in."

Michael Robinson  •  Link

I see him to his and he me to my chamber

If its the usual arrangement for a mid / late C 17th. English house, the two principal upstairs chambers were almost certainly positioned as mirror images on opposite sides of the broad central staircase hall at the front of the structure: they would have parted at the respective chamber doors.

Note also the telling period detail that the chambers taken by Coventry and Pepys reflect their relative positions in the status heirarchy.

Mary  •  Link

the question of the boots.

L&M reading is, "we put OFF our boots," which makes better sense. Riding boots are not the most comfortable of walking-shoes.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Thank you, Mary! Problem solved! But thanks for all the boots info dirk. Fascinating. By coincidence, I was watching the English film, Kinky Boots last night. see info at…

TerryF  •  Link

Pepys is onto a problem unique to Chatham among the yards -

Its resident authority, Commissioner Peter Pett, is not the *boss* of the yard, he's the close community's hereditary *paterfamilias* - as revealed in "the relations that he has to most people that act there." Their parents and perhaps grandparents worked for his father, Phineas Pett, whom he followed in his position, so he cannot simply dismiss folks to whom he's bound by generations of loyalty.

(Cp. the situation of Charlie Price of *Kinky Boots")

(Susan, you *really* need a subsciption to the antipodean version of Netflix, because this film was rated only C+ by Yahoo! Users, who are usually less discriminating than the Critics.)

Pedro  •  Link

“and conclude that he is not able to do the same in that yard that he might and can and it maybe will do in another,”

As the King has chosen Peter Pett at Chatham to build his yachts, in competition with his ship-building brother Christopher Pett at Deptford and Woolwich (for the Duke of York), the way he runs the yard may at this time come second to the quality of boat he produces?

jeannine  •  Link

"Now match the four men to the four horses they rode and the four chambers they slept in.”
Thank you Roy I loved this--- somehow, when I read about the ongoing Pepys sleeping arrangements I think I'd prefer the "John Wayne" style where a man just slept with his would be a lot easier to keep track of.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

" maybe will do in another..."

Sounds like Sam's hinting a change of yard would be in order for Commissioner Pett. Good luck blasting him out of there Sam.

Later that night...

"Folks, we be in trouble..." the Commissioner eyes his considerably more than little 'family' of staff and working men and women. Many literally family. "Coventry and Pepys are demanding I crack down."

"But, sir. Our fathers and our fathers' fathers and their fathers have worked here at Chatham for you and yours." one young fellow notes anxiously.

"As have our mothers and their mothers' mothers..." one sewing lady notes.

"Couldn't we just arrange an accident, like with the fellow in Queen Elizabeth's time. Large crate 'slips' and there's an end of Mr. Reformer and his Boy Wonder." an older gent suggests.

"It's an idea, Cousin Fred." Pett nods thoughtfully. "But we couldn't count on getting them both without it looking suspicious."

"I hear from Bagwell the carpenter back at your brother's yard that Pepys goes for the ladies." a young and comely woman smiles. "A few of us could throw ourselves his way. Like with Queen Mary's man back in great-grandmother's day." She grins at the stares. "Well, the little fellow's not the most unhandsome thing in the world."

"Cousin Betty..." Pett nods solemnly. "Truly above and beyond the call...Though that was a special case, Queen Mary's man being here to burn all Protestants in the area."

"Only thing 'burning' when great-gram got through with him was his..." Betty grins again.

"Of course...While Coventry is well set and seems incorruptible, I do get the impression young Pepys, as a coming sort, might appreciate a bit of financial kindness." Pett looks at the group.

"Oh, no problem then." the first young man to speak beams. "Pass the hat, mates."

"I think we have to be a bit more subtle with this one, nephew." Pett sighs.

"Hmmn..." a slightly disappointed Betty. "I still think a romp in the hay would better incline him to our cause."

"Well he does talk so charmin'...And he must have something to have landed that pretty wife of his." she grins at several female co-workers mild whacks and mock looks of disapproval.


language hat  •  Link

"he would if we would own him in it"

The only OED definition that seems to apply is 4.c:
To acknowledge as having supremacy, authority, or power over oneself; to recognize or profess obedience to (a greater power, a superior, etc.).

So "if we would acknowledge him as being the one who would have the ultimate right of decision in the matter"? I'm not entirely comfortable with this (especially since the first OED cite for this sense is from 1695 ("The Prince of Darkness owns the Conquerour").

Joe  •  Link

Isn't Pett is asking Pepys et al. to do the owning--that Pett shall be the Conqerour to Pepys's Prince of Darkness?

My old Compact Edition of the OED has for _own_, v. #4 "To acknowledge as approved or accepted; to declare or manifest one's acceptance or approval of; to countenance, vindicate," and cites Milton in 1649 ("Piracy becomes a project own'd and authoriz'd against the Subject").

So, "he would [correct and suspend officers] if we would [vindicate] him in it."

If I'm wrong yet again, I'll own up to it.

Aqua  •  Link

"... answered he would if we would own him in it..." a version- answered he would if thee have the power[authority- commission] to do so otherwise keep thy nose to thy self [Butt out]. In Saxon translated, go and do a biological impossibility, politely.

JonTom Kittredge  •  Link

“He would if we would own him in it”
From the context, it sounded like he meant "Pett reluctantly agreed to do it if, we we backed him up on it."

Bradford  •  Link

JonTom read my mind---"He'd do it if we'd back him up."

Second Reading

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