Monday 23 November 1663

Up and to Alderman Backwell’s, where Sir W. Rider, by appointment, met us to consult about the insuring of our hempe ship from Archangell, in which we are all much concerned, by my Lord Treasurer’s command. That being put in a way I went to Mr. Beacham, one of our jury, to confer with him about our business with Field at our trial to-morrow, and thence to St. Paul’s Churchyarde, and there bespoke “Rushworth’s Collections,” and “Scobell’s Acts of the Long Parliament,” &c., which I will make the King pay for as to the office; and so I do not break my vow at all.

Back to the Coffee-house, and then to the ’Change, where Sir W. Rider and I did bid 15 per cent., and nobody will take it under 20 per cent., and the lowest was 15 per cent. premium, and 15 more to be abated in case of losse, which we did not think fit without order to give, and so we parted, and I home to a speedy, though too good a dinner to eat alone, viz., a good goose and a rare piece of roast beef. Thence to the Temple, but being there too soon and meeting Mr. Moore I took him up and to my Lord Treasurer’s, and thence to Sir Ph. Warwick’s, where I found him and did desire his advice, who left me to do what I thought fit in this business of the insurance, and so back again to the Temple all the way telling Mr. Moore what had passed between my Lord and me yesterday, and indeed my fears do grow that my Lord will not reform as I hoped he would nor have the ingenuity to take my advice as he ought kindly. But however I am satisfied that the one person whom he said he would take leave to except is not Mr. Moore, and so W. Howe I am sure could tell him nothing of my letter that ever he saw it.

Here Mr. Moore and I parted, and I up to the Speaker’s chamber, and there met Mr. Coventry by appointment to discourse about Field’s business, and thence we parting I homewards and called at the Coffeehouse, and there by great accident hear that a letter is come that our ship is safe come to Newcastle. With this news I went like an asse presently to Alderman Backewell and, told him of it, and he and I went to the African House in Broad Street to have spoke with Sir W. Rider to tell him of it, but missed him. Now what an opportunity had I to have concealed this and seemed to have made an insurance and got 100l. with the least trouble and danger in the whole world. This troubles me to think I should be so oversoon.

So back again with Alderman Backewell talking of the new money, which he says will never be counterfeited, he believes; but it is deadly inconvenient for telling, it is so thick, and the edges are made to turn up.

I found him as full of business, and, to speak the truth, he is a very painfull man, and ever was, and now-a-days is well paid for it.

So home and to my office, doing business late in order to the getting a little money, and so home to supper and to bed.

36 Annotations

First Reading

Bradford  •  Link

"With this news I went like an asse presently to Alderman Backewell and, told him of it, . . . Now what an opportunity had I to have concealed this and seemed to have made an insurance and got 100l. with the least trouble and danger in the whole world. This troubles me to think I should be so oversoon."

"oversoon": "from to have 'overseen oneself', failed to see the proper course to take"---Companion Large Glossary.

But is this a description of what it seems---insurance fraud?---and "Nobody will notice or think such a thing of Me, not Me, not Me"?

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Insurance fraud?
Not exactly, as I understand the term. What Sam is saying is that he could pretend to have purchased insurance for the ship, gotten reimbursed from the Treasury for the purchase, and with the ship safe in port no claim would be made that would show that no insurance had been bought. However, I get the sense that Sam is expressing his amazement at how easy it would be to pull off such a trick, not expressing his intention or his wish to do so himself.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Or maybe not. As I reread the passage, it sounds more like Sam is mad at himself for not having grasped the possibility before running "like an asse" to tell others that the ship is in.

cumgranosalis  •  Link

OED: oversoon
[< OVER- + SOON adv.]
A. adv. Too soon; too quickly or readily (obs.). a1400 (c1303)

1634 W. TIRWHYT tr. J. L. G. de Balzac Lett. 97 Having over-soone desired them.
1671 H. MORE Let. 13 June in Conway Lett. (1992) vi. 336 The Coache was gone before I came, though I had oft stayed for other passengers longer than that, which made loath to come ouersoone.
B. adj. Untimely, too early. Obs. rare. a1586
Temptation, Just temptation.
Besides which, he did not want to pay such a high premium, save him from justifying the expenditure.
Also he got his books for his office paid for.

cumgranosalis  •  Link

So there be a LLoyds forerunner at the 'change and the nearby Coffee house for hedging ones bets, on the vaguaries of ice bergs and other acts of nature.

Terry F  •  Link

The vow's also monetized - no breaking it, no fine.

"I...bespoke 'Rushworth's Collections,' and 'Scobell's Acts of the Long Parliament,' &c., which I will make the King pay for as to the office; and so I do not break my vow at all."

Larry Bunce  •  Link

In the book "London" by Edward Rutherfurd, it says coffee houses became specialized as to clientele.
Lawyers hung out in one, Doctors in another. Insurance men hung out in a coffee house named "Lloyd's."

Mary  •  Link

"he is a very painfull man"

i.e. one who takes great pains in his work.

adam w  •  Link

Sam's thoughts have dwelt on the getting of money over the past few days - his uncertainty over Sandwich's reaction preying on his mind & sense of his own security, maybe?
His reaction seems reckless, though - insurance scams, alienating potential allies (Creed), fiddling expenses (wood carving, books). Not the way to become an esteemed mandarin, surely.
And just why would the navy office need "Rushworth's Collections," and "Scobell's Acts of the Long Parliament," &c.? Not a difficult scam to see through. But maybe Sam knows that no-one else in the office pays the same attention to detail as he does, so it will not be noticed.

alanB  •  Link

So the hemp shipment was overdue and Sir W Rider fearing the worst decides to take out insurance at short notice. I would have thought that this would have been a matter dealt with before the ship departed. Had the vessel gone down, 20% would have been better than the total loss. Why the hesitancy to broker a deal?

Don McCahill  •  Link

> Why the hesitancy to broker a deal?

Because the price was higher than expected. It is like going to a store when you are told you can spend $20 on something, and find that the cheapest are $30. You have to go back to the boss and ask for approval for the extra $10.

Sam was looking for (the Duke??) to get approval when he heard the ship was in, and there was no longer a need.

Don McCahill  •  Link

Not the duke, but Rider

Ruben  •  Link


Lloyd's came to life a quarter of a century later, so for the time being, the probable correct answer about the insurance crowd is Mr. WithaPinchofSalt annotation.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Ah, there you are Pepys! Thank God for your diligence, man!"

"Sir William?"

"The hemp ship, Pepys! Word's just come from Newcastle. It went down last night like lead at anchor during a high sea from the storm there. Thank God you had the insurance secured yesterday. Coventry and the Duke were so relieved. They'd like you to send the policy over immediately."

"Pepys?" Sir William stares at the unconscious form on the ground.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...I went to Mr. Beacham, one of our jury, to confer with him about our business with Field at our trial to-morrow..."


Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Begging your pardon, your Honor. May I make an inquiry of one of the principals?"

"Certainly, Mr. Beacham."

"Mr. Pepys, sir? Should we be finding Mr. Field guilty on all counts or leave a few out, sos to look more fair, sir?"

"Oh, the whole score, Beacham...As we agreed yesterday."

"Quite, sir. Just wanted to be sure, sir."

"Your Honor?!" a staring Fields cries.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"like an asse ... and seemed to have made an insurance"
As Bradofrd and Paul Chapin have observed, Sam realizes in a flash that he could have pocketed a tidy sum at minimal cost, and kicks himself for not having done so. But this can be seen another way.
Sam's success has been in part that he is (a) a faithful steward of the crown, seeking good results for his principals even if he can make a bit of vig here and there, and (b) a reliable reporter of events. If he were to start trading on insider information in this way, his credibiltiy as a reliable reporter would wane. In other words, when you convert inside knowledge into cash, you spend your reputation -- which in fairly short order shuts off your access to inside information, and your position, and everything that goes with it. In the long run, that would be *much* more costly.
There's no indication Sam has yet thought of this, but he may.

Terry F  •  Link


"...I went to Mr. Beacham, one of our jury, to confer with him about our business with Field at our trial to-morrow..."

I had the same Q., Robert. I believe thia has occurred before. Pepys is quite blasé about this - I guess the law has changed.

The Mollusc  •  Link

Real world verdicts...

Just like today, juries would be in the same courtroom as the protagonists, and would make their minds up based on the 'facts' of the case.

Naturally, the capacity of the accused to do harm to jury members and their families would never be an issue, nor would good looks, fame, wealth and power have any bearing on the result ...again just like today!

Terry F  •  Link

History of anonymous juries [in the US]

Anonymous juries are a relatively new phenomenon. The first fully anonymous jury empaneled in the United States was in the 1977 trial of drug kingpin Leroy Barnes in New York City. The court believed Barnes presented an unusually dangerous risk to the jurors and it took the extraordinary measure of hiding their identities. (United States v. Barnes)...,By the mid-1990s, however, some courts used anonymous juries regularly....

Why anonymous juries are used
The primary arguments in favor of anonymous juries are to avoid jury tampering, protect juror safety and alleviate juror stress. However, courts also consider anonymous juries due to media interest in a case.…

Bradford  •  Link

"and so I do not break my vow at all."

Which wins, the letter, or the spirit? That depends on what the heart wants and can get away with at the moment.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Do we know (I've lost track) if this jury is to try Field or is it a Grand Jury to find if there is a case to answer? (like a commital hearing nowadays) If it is still at the Grand Jury stage, speaking to the members of that (who are a regular set) is rather different from speaking to someone who is to find someone guilty or not.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

business with Field at our trial to-morrow,...

From the prior annotations the actions by Field against Pepys and, spearately, the Board are for wrongful arrest and are "at law," ie. civil actions in the common law courts.

Today's action is that by Battern, on behalf of the Board, against Field and is in the Court of Exchequer on a charge of slander, but is also a "trial at law," rather than in equity.

Neither are criminal matters either in form or substance.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Thanks for the infomation, Michael. So what I said doesn't apply at all as that is for criminal matters, not civil.

cumgranosalis  •  Link

" of our jury..." the jury mostly went along with the Judge using the judge's guidelines, although here I can see some [tampering?]inducement? The jury was made up of peop;e of substance i.e. men of some property, was it not?

Michael Robinson  •  Link

talking of the new money, is so thick, and the edges are made to turn up.

"By the time of the restoration of Charles II in 1660, milling machines were poised to take over the minting of coins. Initially hammered coins continued in production together with some milled twopence and penny coins. From 1662 onwards the production of hammered coins ceased and henceforth all coins were machine made. In 1662 first the silver crown was minted, to be followed in 1663 by a gold coin valued initially at 20 shillings, and two other silver coins, the halfcrown and shilling."

British early milled coins: The Change to a Milled Coinage…

Nix  •  Link

And just why would the navy office need "Rushworth's Collections," and "Scobell's Acts of the Long Parliament," &c.? --

I don't see a problem with Samuel charging these to the office. They are reference books that would have direct use in sorting out the mandate and authority of the Navy Office. They didn't have law libraries, much less Lexis/Nexis, to consult in those days.

The title of Scobell's Acts is self-explanatory. Rushworth compiled "The first great collection of English state papers".…

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Lloyd's of London

Lloyd's Coffee House, opened by Edward Lloyd in around 1688 on Tower Street in the historic City of London. This establishment was a popular place for sailors, merchants, and ship-owners, and Lloyd catered to them with reliable shipping news. The coffee house soon became recognised as an ideal place for obtaining marine insurance. The shop was also frequented by mariners involved in the slave trade. Historian Eric Williams notes: "Lloyd's, like other insurance companies, insured slaves and slave ships, and was vitally interested in legal decisions as to what constituted 'natural death' and 'perils of the sea'." Lloyd's obtained a monopoly on maritime insurance related to the slave trade and maintained it until the early 19th century.…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

anonymous juries (US)

An innominate jury, also known as an anonymous jury, is a jury whose members are kept anonymous by court order. This may be requested by the prosecution or defense in order to protect the jury from the media, potential jury tampering, or social pressure to return a particular verdict.…

David G  •  Link

Insurance. I am fairly certain that Sam wanted to sell someone an insurance policy, not buy an insurance policy, and that the annotations from 2006 misunderstood the proposed transaction. That is, before the enactment of Stat. 19 George II in 1746, a person purchasing insurance did not need to have an "insurable interest" in the property that was the subject of the insurance policy. ("Insurable interest" means, in simplest terms, that the person purchasing the insurance had an interest in keeping the property safe.) In the absence of an "insurable interest" requirement, a person could, for example, insure the cargo of any ship against loss, even if the person buying the insurance didn't own the cargo -- which meant that insurance sometimes became a form of gambling (how likely is it that this particular ship will sink?) and led to serious moral hazards (such as hiring pirates to seize the ship so that one could collect on the insurance). Back in the days before Lloyd's of London, anyone could sell insurance and my guess is that if Sam was thinking about selling an insurance policy to someone who wanted to insure the ship under the mistaken impression that this was close to a "sure thing," and that Sam assumed he could have charged a premium of £100 for the policy.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

". . . and I home to a speedy, though too good a dinner to eat alone, viz., a good goose and a rare piece of roast beef."

I wonder if he meant that it was rare to have a "piece roast beef" or that the beef was cooked rare? I'm guessing that they cooked beef to death in those days as I hear they did in England well into the 20th century. Unfortunately for Sam, et al, it was too early for Yorkshire Pudding, which wasn't invented until the 1740s, so Sam missed one of those perfect food combinations.

Athena  •  Link

The new money, which is "deadly inconvenient for telling" - telling = counting, keeping tally of. "I may tell all my bones", Psalm 22:17, KJV.

The "rare" piece of beef, I would take that to have been an especially fine one, uncommonly good. Both geese and cattle-beasts in fine condition and available at this time of year, just after Martinmas on November 11.

Bill  •  Link

“This troubles me to think I should be so oversoon.”

OVERSOON, Too soon.
---A Dictionary Of The English Language. Samuel Johnson, 1756.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ‘ . . too good a dinner to eat alone, viz., a good goose and a rare piece of roast beef . . ’

More likely is:

‘rare, adj.1 < classical Latin . .
. . 5. b. colloq. In weakened sense: splendid, excellent, fine . .
. . 1668 Dryden Sr Martin Mar-all v. 67 Mill. You and I will disguise too... Mood. That will be most rare.
1707 E. Ward Wooden World Dissected 59 He's a rare Fellow for giving a bad Captain a good Word . . ‘

but could be:

‘rare, adj.2 < Originally a variant of rear adj.1 . .
1. Of meat, esp. beef: lightly cooked; underdone . .
1615 G. Markham Eng. Hus-wife in Countrey Contentments ii. 54 To know when meate is rosted enough, for as too much rareness is vnwholsome, so too much drinesse is not nourishing . .
Re: ’ . . he is a very painfull man, . .’

‘painful, adj. . .
. . 4. b. Of a person: painstaking, assiduous, diligent. Now rare.
. . 1632 Sir J. Oglander Mem. (1888) 141, I maye trulye saye of the man, I never knewe any more paynefull of bodye, or more industrious of minde.
1702 C. Mather Magnalia Christi i. v. 21/1 The more Learned, Godly, Painful Ministers of the Land . . ‘


eileen d.  •  Link

"...nor have the ingenuity to take my advice as he ought kindly." [re: Sam's advice letter to Lord Sandwich]

have to record my chuckle over this one... I, too, am often dismayed by people's lack of ingenuity in accepting my peerless advice! :))

Third Reading

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