Saturday 21 November 1663

At the office all the morning and at noon I receive a letter from Mr. Creed, with a token, viz., a very noble parti-coloured Indian gowne for my wife. The letter is oddly writ, over-prizing his present, and little owning any past service of mine, but that this was his genuine respects, and I know not what: I confess I had expectations of a better account from him of my service about his accounts, and so give his boy 12d., and sent it back again, and after having been at the pay of a ship this afternoon at the Treasury, I went by coach to Ludgate, and, by pricing several there, I guess this gowne may be worth about 12l. or 15l. But, however, I expect at least 50l. of him. So in the evening I wrote him a letter telling him clearly my mind, a copy of which I keep and of his letter and so I resolve to have no more such correspondence as I used to have but will have satisfaction of him as I do expect.

So to write my letters, and after all done I went home to supper and to bed, my mind being pretty well at ease from my letter to Creed, and more for my receipt this afternoon of 17l. at the Treasury, for the 17l. paid a year since to the carver for his work at my house, which I did intend to have paid myself, but, finding others to do it, I thought it not amisse to get it too, but I am afeard that we may hear of it to our greater prejudices hereafter.

27 Annotations

First Reading

Eric Walla  •  Link

Oh Sam, Sam ...

Is this our good friend, or his periwigg talking? I suppose it was bound to happen, what with everyone getting their due. Is it foolish to cringe at how much our hero has come to mirror his surroundings?

Bradford  •  Link

Setting one's fees before setting to work would spare all parties. Lay your bets: will Creed, notoriously tight, cough up another 35 to 38 pounds?

By contrast: "finding others to do it, I thought it not amisse to get it too, but I am afeard that we may hear of it to our greater prejudices hereafter"---a paltry, defensive defense, compared to his bravado a few sentences earlier.

Terry F  •  Link

Pepys justly ballistic!!

Setting fees? When? On what basis? SP spent a great deal of political capital, time, and energy getting Sir G. Carteret to concede Creed's accounts credible. Though Samuel couches it in terms of a sum, this is a matter of honor and chum-ship betrayed!!

Bradford  •  Link

We need an emoticon for sarcasm. And whimsy. But since Sam "expect[s] at least 50L. of him" yet did not indicate a suggested list price beforehand, seller beware.

cumgranosalis  •  Link

Now it ain't graft, just a customery fee for services rendered, never call it baksheesh. "scratch scratch".
" pricing several there, I guess this gowne may be worth about 12l. or 15l.. But, however, I expect at least 50l. of him. So in the evening I wrote him a letter telling him clearly my mind..."

Jesse  •  Link

"however, I expect at least 50l. of him"

Quite a sum. I wonder how much of the 'do unto others' went into the expectation? And while "at ease from [his] letter to Creed" no mention of any continuing "defeat of [his] expectation of being eased one way or other in the business of my Lord."

alanB  •  Link

Such a pity we have no comment from Bess upon Sam's actions. She in her Indian gown (presumably, sub-continent origin) and Sam in his velvet and periwig. The original Bollywood couple.

Xjy  •  Link

50 quid
pro quo. Nothing comes of nothing. E nihil nihilo.
Hard noses all. Puritan egalitarian ethic underlying the phosphorescent shimmer of Restoration corruption. Not the usual squishy turds varnished with pink lacquer a la Marie Antoinette, but good solid oak belaying pins. Very contradictory.
Sam is riding the waters well... got his sea-legs... no nonsense even from his buddies. Very business-like this sending back of a pricey gift. Knows his value and isn't shy of asserting his right to it. Note the instinctive capitalist handling of the interaction between commodity and price. Exchange value is exchange value, whether in the form of goods or money. Linen coats, anyone?? ;-)

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Sly of Creed to trim the payment with such a nice gift for Bess...Sam must have given him considerable cause to think the way round was via the missus.

"My dear Pepys,

Here enclosed is a truly precious gift from your dear friend to dear Mrs. Pepys. I know you will appreciate such a fine item purchased by me at great cost for the dear wife of your heart from that fabled and exotic land of the East, to wit, India. Knowing the infinite value you place on our dear Bess I knew only such an item could be worthy of gracing her fair shoulders. But hang the incredible expense where good friends such as you and Mrs. P are concerned, eh?"

"by pricing several there..."

Indian gowns flooding the 17th century market, eh?

" mind being pretty well at ease from my letter to Creed, and more for my receipt this afternoon of 17l. at the Treasury..."

Some need a cookie or other carb to get that insulin/seratonin kick in the afternoon...Some are fine with 17l cold cash.

Nix  •  Link

"17L. at the Treasury" --

Back when Samuel was remodeling, I wondered whether he was coming out of pocket or getting the Navy to pay for it. Now we know.

Roger Arbor  •  Link

Interesting that Sam gave the boy 12p and not 1/- (One shilling). Was 12p not known as a shilling at this time I wonder?

Mary  •  Link

12d. =1/-

Elsewhere Pepys refers to the shilling by that name (e.g. 7th September 1663, when he paid one shilling for a dinner of bread, cheese and beer). The term 'shilling' had been used for the sum of 12 pence since Norman times.

Perhaps the usage "12d." in this entry indicates that Sam gave the boy 12 penny coins.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...for the 17l. paid a year since to the carver for his work at my house, which I did intend to have paid myself, but, finding others to do it, I thought it not amisse to get it too, but I am afeard that we may hear of it to our greater prejudices hereafter."

"Mr. Speaker. I wish to bring to the attention of the House this listing of remodeling work done at the homes of several officials of the Navy Office..."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

One has to feel for Sam's efforts to remain somewhat honorable in his duty. His old patron and hero cousin can't help draw and quarter old colleagues fast enough in his race for preferment...And was anxious to be a charter member of the Committee to Appoint a More Docile Court Bimbo to the King. The most admirable man he knows, Coventry, is busy defending himself against corruption charges by claiming he took no more than others before him and has since stopped.

Terry F  •  Link

"by coach to Ludgate"

Wonder how much it cost Pepys to price Creed's gift-horse?

Any idea about the cost of coach-transport?

cumgranosalis  •  Link

Mary ! How rite ye be, Sam opens 'is purse in a Creed like style and hands over some farthings, Hapepennies, a mite and the like. Sam Saying " here is a penny worth, now that be tuppence , that makes it Threppence,...there there, that be Twelve P" The Lad goes away muttering "another ****** Creed'.
Of course getting a bob a day for running errands, he be well off, earning Eighteen quid a year, more than most mayds and their ilke.
When I be a nipper, I would get coppers of all sorts, and when the piggy bank was filled, then I be off with the proceeds to a bank and have coppers and odd silver pieces changed into Crisp 10 bob notes, and that was how I used to get my goodies, I had to earn my way.
A shilling be in my estimation be similar to getting here to-day, ten Dollars, it got then a pint of oysters, and pint of oysters be ten dollars today.
google -----La. oysters pricier and less plentiful -
He estimates that a pint of oysters will cost $10 to $14 at the grocery this fall
and winter.....

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"a very noble parti-coloured indian gowne for my wife"
We know that Bess liked to show some skin since one of her portraits was destroyed for this reason but methinks this gowne could not be a sari;Bess wouldn't be showing her belly button no way; maybe just the fabric was indian.

Bryan M  •  Link

Any idea about the cost of coach-transport?

Terry, in the February 6 1663 entry in Aqua Scripto said that the standard coach fare was a minimum of 1 shilling plus negotitated charge (citing Liza Picard Pg 147, Restoration London).…

JonTom Kittredge  •  Link

12d. =1/-
As I recall, there are several places where SP refers to amounts of 20s or 40s, instead of one or two pounds. Maybe he uses the smaller unit of currency, unless it equals more than a few of the larger unit.

Pedro  •  Link

On this Day...

Holmes leaves London to assume command of his second expedition to Africa.

Pedro  •  Link

Also on this Day...

Holmes boards the Jersey and, going down river, was forced to anchor by thick fog. A Dutch pink groping her way up, passed close by without striking her flag. Holmes at once fired on her and had her master brought on board. In such conditions the salute may have been waived, but the Dutch were not allowed the benefit of the doubt. And in any case the salute was a sensitive matter for Holmes.

(Man of War...Ollard)

"and we do expect hourly to hear what usage he hath from the Duke and the King about this late business of letting the Swedish Embassador go by him without striking his flag."…

cumgranosalis  •  Link

40 bob be like counting out a hundred dollars. "One shilling, two......forty shillings and now we be even"
A sovereign be rare for most, except at the Cockpit.
"wot" be 500: to impress some one; thee do not mention the kicker; once when someone long ago, asked how much I had lost at the Casino, said I "500" they said ye can afford those green backs, so I had to tell the truth, it be 500 pennies [cents][5$].
40 shillings sounds so much more worthy than 2 Pounds, Austria and East Africa used count out in bobs.
It was not too long ago when 50 Pounds [1000 shillings][12000 pennies] [48000 farthings] be a fortune to a lad when he be cramming on the f. Granta.

Second Reading

Weavethe hawk  •  Link

I don't think it would have been too unusual to quote prices in the lower denomination. I remember very well as a kid before decimalization, shops would display the prices of their goods in shillings without referring to the pounds, e.g. 42/6d or 30/-. We even had a high street tailor who's slogan was "the Fifty Shilling Tailor."

Cassidy  •  Link

The original meaning of "parti-colored" was half one color and half another, the stereotypical "medieval jester" outfit (although it was not only jesters who dressed that way). By this point, it was in no way fashionable to have your left side blue and your right side red, so it's not likely to mean that here. India was producing cottons and silks, but I suspect this gown is silk, as Pepys would likely have noted calico as it was a great luxury in the 17th century.

Probably this is a silk gown with a bodice of one color and sleeves + petticoat of another, as can be seen in this portrait of the Marquise de Longueville:…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I checked our encyclopedia and was surprised to read of Holmes' orders, signed by James, Duke of York:

The second African expedition – 1663 - 1664
The objectives of the 1664 Guinea expedition are unclear. Although Capt. Robert Holmes was later charged with exceeding his orders by capturing Dutch forts and ships there, William Coventry talks of a "game" that was to be started there, which can only mean an Anglo-Dutch war (Bath MSS. CII, ff. 3-13).
Capt. Robert Holmes' orders, drafted by Coventry and signed by James, Duke of York, were to 'promote the Interests of the Royal Company' in HMS Jersey and to 'kill, take, sink or destroy such as shall oppose you' (Bath MSS. XCV, ff.3-5) - especially the Goulden Lyon of Flushing, a Dutch West India Company ship that had given the English a lot of trouble.

The Navy Board better wake up ... they don't seem to have any sense of urgency to build a powerful fleet to meet this challenge. I know Pepys has received hints of what is to come, but I suspect he would be horrified to hear Holmes had already been sent out to specifically provoke trouble.…

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