Wednesday 18 November 1663

Up, and after being ready, and done a little business at the office, I and Mr. Hater by water to Redriffe, and so walked to Deptford, where I have not been a very great, while, and there paid off the Milford in very good order, and all respect showed me in the office as much as there used to be to any of the rest or the whole board. That done at noon I took Captain Terne, and there coming in by chance Captain Berkeley, him also to dinner with me to the Globe. Captain Berkeley, who was lately come from Algier, did give us a good account of the place, and how the Basha there do live like a prisoner, being at the mercy of the soldiers and officers, so that there is nothing but a great confusion there.

After dinner came Sir W. Batten, and I left him to pay off another ship, and I walked home again reading of a little book of new poems of Cowley’s, given me by his brother. Abraham do lie, it seems, very sicke, still, but like to recover.

At my office till late, and then came Mr. Hollyard so full of discourse and Latin that I think he hath got a cupp, but I do not know; but full of talke he is in defence of Calvin and Luther. He begun this night the fomentation to my wife, and I hope it will do well with her. He gone, I to the office again a little, and so to bed.

This morning I sent Will with my great letter of reproof to my Lord Sandwich, who did give it into his owne hand. I pray God give a blessing to it, but confess I am afeard what the consequence may be to me of good or bad, which is according to the ingenuity that he do receive it with. However, I am satisfied that it will do him good, and that he needs it:


I do verily hope that neither the manner nor matter of this advice will be condemned by your Lordship, when for my defence in the first I shall alledge my double attempt, since your return from Hinchinbroke, of doing it personally, in both of which your Lordship’s occasions, no doubtfulnesse of mine, prevented me, and that being now fearful of a sudden summons to Portsmouth, for the discharge of some ships there, I judge it very unbecoming the duty which every bit of bread I eat tells me I owe to your Lordship to expose the safety of your honour to the uncertainty of my return. For the matter, my Lord, it is such as could I in any measure think safe to conceal from, or likely to be discovered to you by any other hand, I should not have dared so far to owne what from my heart I believe is false, as to make myself but the relater of other’s discourse; but, sir, your Lordship’s honour being such as I ought to value it to be, and finding both in city and court that discourses pass to your prejudice, too generally for mine or any man’s controllings but your Lordship’s, I shall, my Lord, without the least greatening or lessening the matter, do my duty in laying it shortly before you.

People of all conditions, my Lord, raise matter of wonder from your Lordship’s so little appearance at Court: some concluding thence their disfavour thereby, to which purpose I have had questions asked me, and endeavouring to put off such insinuations by asserting the contrary, they have replied, that your Lordship’s living so beneath your quality, out of the way, and declining of Court attendance, hath been more than once discoursed about the King.

Others, my Lord, when the chief ministers of State, and those most active of the Council have been reckoned up, wherein your Lordship never used to want an eminent place, have said, touching your Lordship, that now your turn was served, and the King had given you a good estate, you left him to stand or fall as he would, and, particularly in that of the Navy, have enlarged upon your letting fall all service there.

Another sort, and those the most, insist upon the bad report of the house wherein your Lordship, now observed in perfect health again, continues to sojourne, and by name have charged one of the daughters for a common courtizan, alledging both places and persons where and with whom she hath been too well known, and how much her wantonnesse occasions, though unjustly, scandal to your Lordship, and that as well to gratifying of some enemies as to the wounding of more friends I am not able to tell.

Lastly, my Lord, I find a general coldness in all persons towards your Lordship, such as, from my first dependance on you, I never yet knew, wherein I shall not offer to interpose any thoughts or advice of mine, well knowing your Lordship needs not any. But with a most faithful assurance that no person nor papers under Heaven is privy to what I here write, besides myself and this, which I shall be careful to have put into your owne hands, I rest confident of your Lordship’s just construction of my dutifull intents herein, and in all humility take leave.

May it please your Lordship,

Your Lordship’s most obedient Servant,
S. P.

The foregoing letter was sealed up, and enclosed in this that follows


If this finds your Lordship either not alone, or not at leisure, I beg the suspending your opening of the enclosed till you shall have both, the matter very well bearing such a delay, and in all humility remain.

May it please your Lordship,

Your Lordship’s most obedient Servant,
S. P.

November 17, 1663.

My servant hath my directions to put this into your Lordship’s owne hand, but not to stay for any answer.

30 Annotations

First Reading

JWB  •  Link

"Heaven is privy"

What, Moore no man, shorthand no copy?

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

And the die is cast...

Having read about this letter in Tomalin's biography, I was prepared for some real fireworks in this letter, but I've got to say (despite the run-on sentences ... Sam's and my own), it seems pretty discrete and sensitive to me. And now we'll see how Sam reacts to Montagu's reaction...

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Well, I got that wrong

Sam did send the letter, and though he shows respect and acknowledges his obligations, minces no words. Bravely and well done!

Jon-o  •  Link

Hmm.. I should try writing a letter like this one next time my boss does something foolish...

aqua  •  Link

Globe? be this a pub in Depford or nearby?

Terry F  •  Link


Having paid off the Milford "in short order," Pepys is now back in central London at the Globe on the n. side of Fleet St, west of Shoe Lane, near the northeast corner of this segment of the Rocque 1746 map.…

Mary  •  Link

The Globe.

There is indeed a Globe Tavern in Fleet Street, but there are also Globes in Cornhill, Eastcheap and Greenwich. Deptford and Greenwich are slap next door to one another, and I suspect that this is the Greenwich tavern; the passage reads better that way. Sam walks to Deptford, pays off the ship, has lunch and then walks home again.

andy  •  Link

a common courtizan

Criticising a man's political fortune be one thing, slagging off his woman be quite another...on balance a silly and immature thing for Sam to do, and as if he were put up to do it by other men, more scheming.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"a common courtizan"
A misnomer in this case because she didn't go to Court; the Court is coming to her.

Rex Gordon  •  Link

Pepys Prolix ...

How lucky we are that Sam wrote so directly and plainly in the diary, rather than the dense, stilted style of this letter. Of course, "People say you're washed up and your girlfriend's a slut" might not be taken so well.

language hat  •  Link

A dangerous letter...

I've been reading about Russia in the period just before the Revolution, when everyone was getting fed up with the court's fecklessness and seeming inability to face up to the country's problems during WWI. The tsar's uncle Nikolai Mikhailovich (despite his family nickname of "Bimbo," the only intelligent, articulate member of the clan) came to see the tsar at his headquarters with a similar letter begging him to cast off the baneful influence of his wife and her guru Rasputin, which was ruining his reputation in the country; the tsar sent the letter -- unread! -- to his wife, who was furious and had Bimbo banished to the Caucasus. Let's Sandwich is more sensible.

Bradford  •  Link

Note the considered structure of this letter. First, an elaborate prologue, a careful preparation of the reader for the serious matters that are to follow; then, points one, two, three.
Yes, the sentences are long, but lack nothing in syntax, balance, and clarity, avoiding the woolly vagueness and digressive irrelevance of the garrulous. Sandwich may misgive Pepys's motives, or dispute the interpretation of events; but he cannot say he cannot understand what he has been told.

Michael L  •  Link

I don't know enough about Pepys' ensuing history to know how His Lordship will receive this letter. But what I know about human nature makes me think that it will not be well received. Sam is trying his best to make his message respectful and charitable, but when someone is corrected in important matters (especially by an underling), they are rarely grateful, no matter how nicely the message is sugar-coated.

Ruben  •  Link

Pepys Prolix ... (I like it!)
The reason I like to read Pepys diary is that it is so direct and modern and not like this horrible letter he sent to his boss, full of all the conventions and circumventions of his time.

Terry F  •  Link


The L&M Companion lists only the Fleet Street and the Eastcheap taverns by the name in the Diary time. Mary, I'm not sure how a "Globe" in Cornhill or Greenwich - which would indeed be more handy to Deptford - is evidenced.

Glyn  •  Link

I hope this doesn't qualify as a spoiler but probably not, although Pepys may not know it quite yet.

Lady Montague, who is about 37 or 38 at present, will give birth to her tenth child (James) next summer, so the Montagues are still having a sexual relationship.

Pedro  •  Link

The Globe.

If Deptford and Greenwich are slap next door to one another, then it could well be the Globe at Greenwich?

I went down by water to Greenwich, in our way observing and discoursing upon the things of a ship, he telling me all I asked him, which was of good use to me. There we went and eat and drank and heard musique at the Globe,…

back to Greenwich by water, and there while something is dressing for our dinner, Sir William and I walked into the Park, where the King hath planted trees and made steps in the hill up to the Castle, which is very magnificent. So up and down the house, which is now repayring in the Queen's lodgings. So to dinner at the Globe,…

Terry F  •  Link

Well done, Pedro and Mary - better than L&M!

MissAnn  •  Link

Loved the letter, took me back to when I was a junior legal secretary and the old (76 yrs) solicitor I was working for would dictate similar things right off the top of his head without missing a beat - boy was my shorthand good in those days.

senex  •  Link

"the old (76 yrs)" ? but not senile?

alanB  •  Link

So let me see. Will has just been turfed out of the house and away from the girls - much against his own liking. He is now given a private letter to Sam's mentor and upon pain of death, told not to lose it or give it to anyone but our Lord. Am I the only one to think that now is the time for Will to take a 'peepy' and advance one's future career? Explains much...

Where is Mr Gertz with his take upon this?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Is no one concerned that our Bess is being treated by a doc who's had a few and is ranting on about Calvin and Luther? I'd've expected better of Mr. Hollier.

"Kalvin, Calvin...Now there's a man to put both the Papists and the peasantry down, sir. Yeah." Hollier waves scalpel. Oh...Stares at scalpel as a terrified Bess eyes Sam.

Don' need that. Replaces scalpel in bag to both Pepys' great relief
Sam? Doesn't this create. "Anyways, sir. Calvin's the man 'ould set this damned kingdom to right. Burn the whole damn lota 'em,sir. Burn 'em! Sorry." eyes where he'd dropped his mixing cup.

Sam? This odd behavior of Hollier's leading to uncomfortable thoughts about the great stone operation?

"Pepys?" Pierce eyes the proud Sam displaying his famed stone case. "You say this is the stone Mr. Hollier removed from your cut?"

"Why...Certainly." Sam blinks as Pierce shakes head, examining the

"Samuel...The good news is I do believe we've found the cause of your and Bess' inability to bear children."

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"no person nor papers under Heaven is privy to what I here write, besides myself and this"

But Pepys had confided the secret to hi diary, and had told Moore "towards night" on 17 November:…
(Per L&M footnote)

Bill  •  Link

“He begun this night the fomentation to my wife, and I hope it will do well with her.”

To FOMENT, to cherish or comfort by applying warm Remedies; to nourish, to abet or encourage.
---An universal etymological English dictionary. N. Bailey, 1724.

1 To cherish with heat.
2 To bathe with warm lotions.
3 To encourage, to support, to cherish.
An encourager, a supporter.
---A Dictionary Of The English Language. Samuel Johnson, 1756.

Ivan  •  Link

Despite having been told to leave the Pepys' household and tearfully doing so on 14/11/1663 Will Hewer is entrusted to deliver this important letter to Sandwich only 4 days later. Sam still trusts his integrity in employing him on this all important mission. Do we know where Will is living now? Somewhere presumably where he can report daily to the Navy Office. With his uncle, Robert Blackborne?

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Hewer was indeed trusted, just not with the maidservants' spirits.

Hewer did not move from Pepys's to his uncle Blackborne's, but to the home of Willliam and Nicola Mercer of St. Olave’s parish who lived on the north side of Crutched Friars. Will's lodging there began 13 November 1663…

Nicola Mercer was probably a widow by 1664. when her daughter, Mary Mercer, became Elizabeth Pepys’ companion (1664-6).

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Look up Crutched Friars on Google maps: it's literally round the corner from the navy office in Seething Lane. Having tramped the streets there, I'd guess Will's new lodgings are two -three minutes walk, max, from Sam's.

James Louder  •  Link

I see that, after all, I put the wrong construction yesterday on Sam's being "not unwilling" for Mr. Moore to sign his letter to Sandwich. Sam's double negative was simply a mistake, a slip, a typo (as we should say).

From the kitchen wafts the aroma of crow pie, and so to dine...

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ’ . . He began this night the fomentation to my wife . . ’

‘fomentation, n. < late Latin . .
1. a. Med. The application to the surface of the body either of flannels, etc. soaked in hot water, whether simple or medicated, or of any other warm, soft, medicinal substance . .
. . 1661 R. Lovell Πανζωορυκτολογια 289 Fomentation with sponges in vineger.
. . 1714 J. Purcell Treat. Cholick 133 Flannel, or a Thin Woollen Cloth worn next to the a lesser kind of perpetual Fomentation . . ‘

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.