Monday 25 January 1663/64

Up and by coach to Whitehall to my Lord’s lodgings, and seeing that knowing that I was in the house, my Lord did not nevertheless send for me up, I did go to the Duke’s lodgings, and there staid while he was making ready, in which time my Lord Sandwich came, and so all into his closet and did our common business, and so broke up, and I homeward by coach with Sir W. Batten, and staid at Warwicke Lane and there called upon Mr. Commander and did give him my last will and testament to write over in form, and so to the ’Change, where I did several businesses. So home to dinner, and after I had dined Luellin came and we set him something to eat, and I left him there with my wife, and to the office upon a particular meeting of the East India Company, where I think I did the King good service against the Company in the business of their sending our ships home empty from the Indies contrary to their contract, and yet, God forgive me! I found that I could be willing to receive a bribe if it were offered me to conceal my arguments that I found against them, in consideration that none of my fellow officers, whose duty it is more than mine, had ever studied the case, or at this hour do understand it, and myself alone must do it.

That being done Mr. Povy and Bland came to speak with me about their business of the reference, wherein I shall have some more trouble, but cannot help it, besides I hope to make some good use of Mr. Povy to my advantage.

So home after business done at my office, to supper, and then to the globes with my wife, and so to bed. Troubled a little in mind that my Lord Sandwich should continue this strangeness to me that methinks he shows me now a days more than while the thing was fresh.

13 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Well, Sam...Imagine how you'd feel if Will Hewer forced you to give up Betty Lane.

What...How can the boy think I would be so foolish as to be serious about the wench? My best interests at heart, he says? How dare he presume?

Be patient and glad a pack of thugs haven't beaten you silly some night...Yet.

"Arggh..." a groaning Pepys...His wound site a special target. As if his mysterious assailants knew of his...

"And there's for you, Pepys! That'll teach you to..."

"Mr...Howe?..." Sam gasps...Staring up at one of the four men, all with faces blackened by burnt cork...


"Howe?" Creed rolls eyes..


A Company Man...

"The Company, Mr. Pepys, rewards its friends...Would you perhaps care to be the new Sultan of Mysore?"

A content Sam heading home thumbs through a certain book that has been the invaluable guide to his success...

"Chapter Fifty-five... So Ye Hast Just Landed Your First Major Bribe..."

"Congratulations...Ye hast climbed to the point where a mighty corporation of businessmen seeks to put ye in their pocket for the influence only You can provide. Well done.


"Why does Hugh Aubry always have an 'unless'?" Sam sighs.

"...You have been so foolish as to let yeself be bribed by a firm whose assets are safely out of reach and which therefore need little fear punishment after betraying ye. Take for instance, the famed East India Company. Doth not their very name say it all?"


"If ye hast been a damned fool, turn in all haste to Chapter Fifty-Eight...'The Art and Craft of Turning Ye State's Evidence'..."


Jesse  •  Link

"business of the reference, wherein I shall have some more trouble, but cannot help it"

Why's that? This started 'last' November and Pepys has tried to bail more than once, most recently four days ago when he'd "have no hand" in it. Now he's resolved to make the best of it. Is it a job requirement, or he can't refuse because they keep asking him and it would reflect badly if he said no?

Bryan M  •  Link

"Mr. Povy and Bland came to speak with me about their business of the reference"

In case anybody else has trouble keeping up with Sam's various dealings, here is a recap on the business of the reference:

It began on 25 November when Mr Bland approached Sam about being his referee in a dispute with Mr Custos, whose referee is Mr Clerke. The disputants and their referees met on 2 December and we learned that the dispute is "about the freight of a ship hired by Mr. Bland to carry provisions to Tangier, and the freight is now demanded, whereas he says that the goods were some spoiled, some not delivered, and upon the whole demands 1300l. of the other, and their minds are both so high, their demands so distant, and their words so many and hot against one another that I fear we shall bring it to nothing."

By 16 December the process wasn't getting anywhere, not only because of the extent of their differences but also because, in Sam's opinion, Mr Clerke wasn't a suitable arbitrator. On 19 December Sam "put them upon it" and they chose Sir William Rider "alone to end the matter, and so I am rid of it."

Well, not quite, but by 14 January Sam thought that the addition of Sir William would soon bring the dispute to resolution. Unfortunately there was a development on 21 January. A letter from Mr Povey informed them that the King was concerned in the matter. It was obviously a time for discretion so "we took occasion to fling off the business from off our shoulders and would have nothing to do with it, unless we had power from the King or Commissioners of Tangier, and I think it will be best for us to continue of that mind, and to have no hand, it being likely to go against the King."

However it looks like this monkey is clinging firmly to Sam's back as we see today that "I shall have some more trouble, but cannot help it". Never mind, Povey looks useful.

tel  •  Link

the business of their sending our ships home empty
I can't follow this. Who could gain from ships being allowed to travel empty?

GrahamT  •  Link

Re: Who could gain from ships being allowed to travel empty?
The ship itself is an asset. If it is moored in the Indies waiting for possible cargo, it can't be used elsewhere. Also the skeleton crew would be paid for babysitting the empty ship. Better all round, if no cargo is forthcoming, to sail it home empty where it can pick up a freight earning cargo.
I work for a shipping company and we have exactly the same decisions to make nowadays with containers from and to China: in full, back empty as the Chinese don't buy many manufactured goods from Europe or the US.

language hat  •  Link

"I found that I could be willing to receive a bribe"
Tsk. But I must say, I find it tremendously enlightening to read the uncensored thoughts of a basically honest, well-intentioned man as he struggles with the complexities and temptations of his (increasingly difficult) job; it makes it much easier to see how corrupt systems maintain themselves and why they're so difficult to suppress.

Bryan: Thanks very much for that useful recap!

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Obituary Times (Lon)Jan 26 2007

Richard Ollard
November 9, 1923 - January 21, 2007
Editor and author who published the novels of Patrick O'Brian and wrote books on the Civil War, Pepys and naval history
Richard Ollard was one of the most civilised men of letters in postwar Britain. From 1948 to 1959 he was a lecturer in history at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich. Thereafter he was senior editor at Collins, a key figure in probably the strongest editorial team in British publishing. When he retired in 1983, already a leading authority on the English 17th century and the Royal Navy, he devoted himself largely to authorship.


[Apologies for placing here but think might be of interest to some; I have made three attempts to post to the Yahoo Group, directly and via e-mail, but can not get it to take for reasons I do not understand]

Pedro  •  Link

"where I think I did the King good service against the Company in the business of their sending our ships home empty from the Indies contrary to their contract,"

I would think that as Sam says "our ships" he means Naval ships loaned to the East India Company. The reason being that for the Guinee Company the King has supplied five ships, currently under the command of Holmes, in exchange for a promise embedded in the Companies Charter that the King should receive two thirds of "all gold mines which shall be seized, possessed and wrought in the parts of the place aforesaid."
But why are they coming back empty, when the Dutch East India Company's merchant ships are coming back ram-jam full of spice and all things nice?

(Thank you Michael, not doubt Ollard's work will provide us with many more insights during the Diary period. The above info comes from his book Man of War)

jeannine  •  Link

Thanks Bryan for the great summary and Michael for the detail on Ollard. Having read a few of his books about "our friends" in this time period, reading about Ollard's passing was rather sad, as we won't have any more of his insights into these times to look forward to.

jeannine  •  Link

Now, since it'a a Friday afternoon, how could I not point out this splendid comment,,,,,

"and so all into his closet"

reminds me of the South Park episode, trying to get Tom Cruise OUT of the closet... oh how expressions change from generation to generation!

djc  •  Link

"the Company in the business of their sending our ships home empty from the Indies contrary to their contract"

Note in L&M on this refers to 7 Nov 1663:
Bombay expidition Apr 1662-Jun 1663
"The ships belonged to the King, but were manned and victualled by the company, which had undertaken to load cargo on the return voyage and pay the usual freightage..."

Pedro  •  Link

Bombay expedition Apr 1662-Jun 1663.

Thanks djc. As the note refers to the entry of 7 Nov 1663, then maybe some have used the excuse of the expedition to explain why the ships have come back "emptyish".

"Thence to Doctors' Commons and there consulted Dr. Turner about some differences we have with the officers of the East India ships about goods brought by them without paying freight, which we demand of them."…

The fleet under the Earl of Marlborough, James Ley, had left Lisbon on 20th April 1662 to take possession of Bombay as part of the Queen's Dowry. Sir Abraham Shipman was in charge of the regiment, and was to become Govenor. The Portuguese Viceroy refused to believe that Bombay was to be given up, and cast doubts upon the papers presented by the Earl. Then after a lot of useless palaver the Admiral left Sir Abraham Shipman and the troops on the small island of Angediva, near Goa, and sailed home for fresh orders. Over a year passed before the fresh orders came, and when they came Sir Abraham Shipman and most of his troops were dead. It was a ghastly tragedy.

Second Reading

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ’ . . so all into his closet and did our common business, . . ’

‘closet, n. < Old French . .
. . 2. a. The private apartment of a monarch or potentate; the private council-chamber . . Obs . . ‘

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