Friday 7 August 1663

Up and to my office a little, and then to Brown’s for my measuring rule, which is made, and is certainly the best and the most commodious for carrying in one’s pocket, and most useful that ever was made, and myself have the honour of being as it were the inventor of this form of it. Here I staid discoursing an hour with him and then home, and thither came Dr Fairbrother to me, and we walked a while together in the garden and then abroad into the cittie, and then we parted for a while and I to my Viall, which I find done and once varnished, and it will please me very well when it is quite varnished.

Thence home and to study my new rule till my head aked cruelly. So by and by to dinner and the Doctor and Mr. Creed came to me.

The Doctor’s discourse, which (though he be a very good-natured man) is but simple, was some sport to me and Creed, though my head akeing I took no great pleasure in it.

We parted after dinner, and I walked to Deptford and there found Sir W. Pen, and I fell to measuring of some planks that was serving into the yard, which the people took notice of, and the measurer himself was amused at, for I did it much more ready than he, and I believe Sir W. Pen would be glad I could have done less or he more.

By and by he went away and I staid walking up and down, discoursing with the officers of the yard of several things, and so walked back again, and on my way young Bagwell and his wife waylayd me to desire my favour about getting him a better ship, which I shall pretend to be willing to do for them, but my mind is to know his wife a little better.

They being parted I went with Cadbury the mast maker to view a parcel of good masts which I think it were good to buy, and resolve to speak to the board about it.

So home, and my brother John and I up and I to my musique, and then to discourse with him, and I find him not so thorough a philosopher, at least in Aristotle, as I took him for, he not being able to tell me the definition of final nor which of the 4 Qualitys belonged to each of the 4 Elements.

So to prayers, and to bed, among other things being much satisfied with my new rule.

36 Annotations

First Reading

Pedro  •  Link

Artistotle's Elements.

Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, how the elements and their qualities are arranged and related……

Earth (salis of the), Water (aqua), Air, Fire?

“One element could be changed into another like mixing solutions.”

Great Philosopher that Aristotle!

TerryF  •  Link

"Sir Fairbrother" should be "Dr. Fairbrother"- so L&M, which makes sense of the later references to "Doctor."

TerryF  •  Link

"the definition of final" - methinks telos or purpose

jeannine  •  Link

"and I find him not so thorough a philosopher, at least in Aristotle"...
I suppose that Sam spends his days filling his speech with great quotes of Aristotle, like these perhaps?…

P.S. Obviously Aristotle wasn't a feminist (and neither is Sam!)

JWB  •  Link

Defn. of final:

I suggest that by "final" Sam means 1st principle.

"The Doctrine of the Prior and Posterior Analytics"

"Our attempt to justify our beliefs logically by giving reasons results in the "regress of reasons." Since any reason can be further challenged, the regress of reasons threatens to be an infinite regress. However, since this is impossible, there must be reasons for which there do not need to be further reasons: reasons which do not need to be proven. By definition, these are "first principles." '
Kelley L. Ross

Bradford  •  Link

Knowing the 4 Elements and their 4 Qualities was surely as useful, at this late period, as knowing the 9 Orders of Angels.

Pepys has been frank since the outset of the Diary; but has it only been since this trip to the country of Elizabeth's that he's adopted the "modern" candor of stating flat out "my mind is to know his wife a little better" and the like? It is as if hitherto her presence under the same roof had made him exercise some degree of self-censorship.

Sjoerd  •  Link

good masts

I don't know if all this talk of unfolding measuring rules, voluminous planks, good masts and "varnishing the viall" have any bearing on the wife being on a trip to the country but one wonders.

TerryF  •  Link

Samuel asks his bro' about simple matters in Aristotle, at least 2 fours that he names. But before that he mentions "final," which I take to refer to what is usually taught first (in textbooks and in the classes I took and have taught), sc. the four causes - Material, Formal, Material and Final - the last being "that for the sake of which" = purpose or the "end" for which a thing exists, changes or is undertaken. (The Analyics are less elementary, however fundamental.)

dirk  •  Link

Knowing the 4 Elements and their 4 Qualities was surely as useful, at this late period, as knowing the 9 Orders of Angels.

Those were the days when knowledge didn't necessarily have to serve a practical purpose... (How I miss them sometimes.) Knowledge for its own sake!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...then to Brown’s for my measuring rule, which is made, and is certainly the best and the most commodious for carrying in one’s pocket, and most useful that ever was made, and myself have the honour of being as it were the inventor of this form of it."

Let no one ever accuse our Sam of not being aware of his own worth...


"Sir, this is certainly the best and most commodious for carrying in one's pocket and most useful measuring rule ever made!" Brown sighs in awe as Sam takes the glorious new measuring rule in hand.

"Yes, Brown...It is."

And I have 5000 more in my back room awaiting shipment to the Continent you little clod. Thank ye for the immortal fame and wealth, heh, heh. Brown, suppressing grin.

Thank God I purchased that last copy of Hugh Audey's "Way to Grow Rich". Chapter 40, "Screwing Your Way to Riches Over yon Simpleton who Comes to ye with a Good Idea.", was so apropos

Robert Gertz  •  Link


"Brampton, August 7, 1663...

Deer Husband,

I will Attempt to Bury your last Hateful Letter in Ob...Forgetfulness, excepting to note that Ashwell has been a Most Rude and Ungretful Lass, her Efforts to become your Father's Pet by her Indulgence of him in Musick not witstanding.

On a Friendlier Note, my Deer, with regard to your Difficult Problem with the Measuring of Timber, I have Continued to Pander (scratched) Ponder the Matter and herein enclose more Designs to Improve upon my earlier idea for a new Mesu...Measuring Stick Rule.

Have you spoken to Mr. Brown about my Design? I am Eager to Heer, my Deer and Look Eagerly for your Letters on the Matter as it is the one Thing which relieves the Boredom of this Place. I hope it will be of help to you in your Work, though we must give proper Credit to my Father and his own Ideas on the Subject. Are you not Proud to be Husband to such a Clever Wife who has taken her Father's Inventive Teachings so to Hart? I must say I look upon this Accomplishment as a Recompense for the Child which God has not Yet seen fit to Bless us with.

Hell remains as always, though worse with Lady Jemina gone. Have you seen her in London?

Your Most Wretched, Forbearing, (and therefore, Most Loving) Bess."

JWB  •  Link

And TerryF,
You're right.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"quite varnished" old use of quite meaning completely - not often used like this nowadays. My mother used to ask if I was quite done when I was ranting on as teenagers do.

Hmm. Anyone else think it highly suspicious that Mrs Bagwell *always* accompanies her husband when they want to discuss Bagwell's possible advancement with our Sam.

TerryF  •  Link

"Anyone else think it highly suspicious that Mrs Bagwell *always* accompanies her husband when they want to discuss Bagwell’s possible advancement with our Sam."

It has been so, Australian Susan! I'd have reported it, but hadn't yet attuned my moral antennae to what may be the way of that (the?) Restoration world, naíf that I am. Or, to change the metsphore a bit, I hadn't sniffed out the odour of bait (and me a native of Southern California where the casting couch is so legendary...)...!

Jesse  •  Link

"my mind is to know his wife a little better"

My goodness! Oh but wait. It's "young Bagwell and [presumably young] wife." I think it suspicious that she was 'always' (good observation) tagging along when Pepys was being "waylayd" or "saluted". But does Pepys and not bother to take note?

Mary  •  Link

definition of final.

L&M reading is "definition of FIRE nor which of the four Qualitys...." which is an entirely different matter and leads on more naturally to the question of the qualities of the four elements.

Bryan M  •  Link

A nice juxtaposition:

Young Bagwell and wife, with designs, waylaid Sam;
meanwhile Sam designs ways of getting laid.

TerryF  •  Link

"So to prayers, and to bed"

On a Friday, no less: this is his usual Sunday routine. I wonder whether he was joined by Hannah as well as John, and what form his prayers took?

Mary, thanks for clearing the Air about the Fire!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

While I've suggested from the first that Bagwell and wife are probably quite aware of Sam's interest what's interesting me now is why Sam feels he could pull this off with this particular couple and not others. Just the right combination of lovely young wife and servility/desperation in Mr. Bagwell? Are the Bagwells' (I said it before and I say it again, that name is proof that God or Fate truly has a sense of humor) so obviously near destitution that Sam is sure they'll comply and be quiet about it? Or, are they apparently such innocent, simple folk...Yeah, right...That our classically educated hero feels he can easily talk the Missus into bed without them even being aware of it?

Sad to think that not so long ago little nobody clerk Pepys of the Exchequer and his lovely wife might have been faced with such a devilish bargain to get ahead...Still, given my Lord's apparent interest in Bess we may yet see Sam facing Bagwell's/Poldy Bloom's plight one day. I've asked before how he would handle it...Somehow I can't see Sam grabbing a sword and challenging Sandwich.

Poor Mrs. B...Innocent or no, it's a miserable choice.

tel  •  Link

Bagwell and wife.
There may be three different plots going on here:
Bagwell: I need a better job and Mr Pepys might be swayed by my poor wife's fluttering eyelashes.
Wife: If Bagwell's at sea, why shouldn't I have some fun with young Mr Pepys?
Pepys: I could be in here........

Pedro  •  Link

Ship’s Carpenter (Bagwell)

As there is not a background section on professions of the sea, here is some information from Gentlemen and Tarpaulins by J.D.Davies…

Warrants of various kinds were held by the carpenter, master, boatswain, gunner, purser, cook, chaplain and surgeon. Of these the master, chaplain and surgeon, like the commissioned officers, served only for the duration of the active service of the ship, while in the majority of cases the other five warrant-officers continued to serve when their ships were laid up in harbour. These standing officers formed the basis of the skeleton crews which guarded and maintained the ships while they lay in the ordinary, the dismasted, unarmed state…

Carpenters had a more diverse career structure, often alternating between service aboard ship and employment as shipwrights in the yards, and several former carpenters reached the summit of their profession, the post of master shipwright in the yards…

Much naval patronage was purely internal, particularly for those warrant posts that relied on considerable technical skill; carpenters, for example, depended chiefly on certificates from the master shipwrights of the dockyards and their assistants.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Importance of Ship's Carpenters

Until ships ceased to be made of wood and powered by sail, they were the euiqvalent of Star Trek's Scotty: keeping the ship going until "she canna tak no more, Cap'n". Another famous Scots ship's carpenter was Harry McNeish, the irascible man from Shackleton's Endurance who converted the little ship's boat, the Sir james Caird, for the epic voyage from Elephant island to South Georgia, but never forgave Shackleton for ordering his cat (Mrs Chippy) to be shot.
Sorry, Antarctic expeditions are one of my obsessions.

Paul Dyson  •  Link

Perhaps Sam, having heard many bible readings when awake in church, was remembering 2 Samuel 11 - the story of David and Bathsheba, later interpreted in doggerel fashion:

David was an officer, Uriah was a sub,
David saw Uriah's wife in her evening tub;
David sent Uriah to explore a frontline trench,
Uriah got a hand-grenade and David got the wench.

Did he remember the unpleasant sequel in chapter 12?

Jeannine will probably be able to produce a better 17th century version than this (not a spoiler):

Sammy was a naval clerk, Bagwell was a chips,
Sammy saw young Bagwell's wife and liked her juicy lips,
Sammy made his protege a naval carpenter,
Bagwell got a cannonball but Sammy got a pair.

Ann  •  Link

Nice Vaca for brother Tom. Sit at home all day with only lazy servants for company, then have big brother occassionally grace you with his presence by playing music, then quizzing you on books, Latin and philosophy and finding you wanting.

Mary  •  Link

Not Tom but John.

Tom is the tailor, disappointed in love. John is the Cambridge undergraduate. Neither brother seems to be measuring up to Sam's expectations at present.

Joe  •  Link

Very nice, Paul Dyson! Yes, Bagwell, the Hittite carpenter....

Aqua  •  Link

Thanks Mary, Final be the fire, and it be in hell to pay for those that sin ?.

jeannine  •  Link

Paul--Bravo on the poetry! Hopefully you'll bring us more!

And Mary, with today's theme of Sam and his love of his measuring rule your comment "Neither brother seems to be measuring up to Sam’s expectations at present" was in perfect thematic harmony!

TerryF  •  Link

"the measurer himself was amused"

"bemused, astonished"
(Select Glossary)

TerryF  •  Link

1480, from M.Fr. amuser "divert, cause to muse," from à "at, to" (but here probably a causal prefix) + muser "ponder, stare fixedly." Sense of "divert from serious business, tickle the fancy of" is recorded from 1631, but through 18c. the primary meaning was "deceive, cheat" by first occupying the attention. Bemuse retains more of the original meaning. Amusement "a pastime, play, game, etc." is first recorded 1673, originally depreciative. Amusement park is first recorded 1909. Amusing is noted late 1920s as a vogue word.…

Well, I am amused

Bradford  •  Link

The era of useless knowledge seems far from over, Dirk---consider how much that millions round the world know about Baby YY miraculously produced by Celebrities XX and XY.
Mr. Milton was writing about the 9 Orders of Angels during this period; but as for practicality, Sam's measuring rule bears away the palm.

Second Reading

Marquess  •  Link

It sounds like Bagwell is being cuckolded by his wife, but not so much for her interests as his.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"my brother John and I up and I to my musique, and then to discourse with him, and I find him not so thorough a philosopher, at least in Aristotle, as I took him for, he not being able to tell me the definition of final nor which of the 4 Qualitys belonged to each of the 4 Elements."

These qualities' practical use: they are part of the medical theory that guided Pepys's physicians' diagnoses and prescriptians (meds, purges, etc,)…

Third Reading

Jon Shemitz  •  Link

I don't think the 7 August 1663 "measuring rule" is likely to be a slide rule as per the mouse-over - the use to measure planks and masts suggests something more like a carpenter's rule that can be unfolded as necessary.

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