Friday 12 February 1663/64

Up, and ready, did find below Mr. Creed’s boy with a letter from his master for me. So I fell to reading it, and it is by way of stating the case between S. Pepys and J. Creed most excellently writ, both showing his stoutness and yet willingness to peace, reproaching me yet flattering me again, and in a word in as good a manner as I think the world could have wrote, and indeed put me to a greater stand than ever I thought I could have been in this matter. All the morning thinking how to behave myself in the business, and at noon to the Coffee-house; thence by his appointment met him upon the ’Change, and with him back to the Coffee-house, where with great seriousness and strangeness on both sides he said his part and I mine, he sometimes owning my favour and assistance, yet endeavouring to lessen it, as that the success of his business was not wholly or very much to be imputed to that assistance: I to alledge the contrary, and plainly to tell him that from the beginning I never had it in my mind to do him all that kindnesse for nothing, but he gaining 5 or 600l., I did expect a share of it, at least a real and not a complimentary acknowledgment of it. In fine I said nothing all the while that I need fear he can do me more hurt with them than before I spoke them. The most I told him was after we were come to a peace, which he asked me whether he should answer the Board’s letter or no. I told him he might forbear it a while and no more. Then he asked how the letter could be signed by them without their much enquiry. I told him it was as I worded it and nothing at all else of any moment, whether my words be ever hereafter spoken of again or no. So that I have the same neither better nor worse force over him that I had before, if he should not do his part. And the peace between us was this: Says he after all, well, says he, I know you will expect, since there must be some condescension, that it do become me to begin it, and therefore, says he, I do propose (just like the interstice between the death of the old and the coming in of the present king, all the time is swallowed up as if it had never been) so our breach of friendship may be as if it had never been, that I should lay aside all misapprehensions of him or his first letter, and that he would reckon himself obliged to show the same ingenuous acknowledgment of my love and service to him as at the beginning he ought to have done, before by my first letter I did (as he well observed) put him out of a capacity of doing it, without seeming to do it servilely, and so it rests, and I shall expect how he will deal with me.

After that I began to be free, and both of us to discourse of other things, and he went home with me and dined with me and my wife and very pleasant, having a good dinner and the opening of my lampry (cutting a notch on one side), which proved very good.

After dinner he and I to Deptford, walking all the way, where we met Sir W. Petty and I took him back, and I got him to go with me to his vessel and discourse it over to me, which he did very well, and then walked back together to the waterside at Redriffe, with good discourse all the way. So Creed and I by boat to my house, and thence to coach with my wife and called at Alderman Backewell’s and there changed Mr. Falconer’s state-cup, that he did give us the other day, for a fair tankard. The cup weighed with the fashion 5l. 16s., and another little cup that Joyce Norton did give us 17s., both 6l. 13s.; for which we had the tankard, which came to 6l. 10s., at 5s. 7d. per oz., and 3s. in money, and with great content away thence to my brother’s, Creed going away there, and my brother bringing me the old silk standard that I lodged there long ago, and then back again home, and thence, hearing that my uncle Wight had been at my house, I went to him to the Miter, and there with him and Maes, Norbury, and Mr. Rawlinson till late eating some pot venison (where the Crowne earthen pot pleased me mightily), and then homewards and met Mr. Barrow, so back with him to the Miter and sat talking about his business of his discontent in the yard, wherein sometimes he was very foolish and pettish, till 12 at night, and so went away, and I home and up to my wife a-bed, with my mind ill at ease whether I should think that I had by this made myself a bad end by missing the certainty of 100l. which I proposed to myself so much, or a good one by easing myself of the uncertain good effect but the certain trouble and reflection which must have fallen on me if we had proceeded to a public dispute, ended besides embarking myself against my Lord, who (which I had forgot) had given him his hand for the value of the pieces of eight at his rates which were all false, which by the way I shall take heed to the giving of my Lord notice of it hereafter whenever he goes out again.

33 Annotations

First Reading

Glyn  •  Link

Sam and Liz call in at Mr Blackwell the goldsmith and sell him 2 cups that together are worth 6 pounds and 13 shillings (which we convert as being worth a minimum of 660 pounds (approximately 1,000 euro/US dollars). But is probably worth more.

With the money they then buy a single gold tankard of higher quality than either of the two that they've sold. Which at the given price per ounce means it weight about 13 ounces (about 350 grammes). And they also got some small change as well.

If gold then was worth the equivalent of 2 ounces to a US Dollar, what is it worth now? And if Robert Gertz ever invents a time machine could we go back and make a profit by trading with them? (So long as the Dutch don't take over.) But what could we swap with them in exchange? I'm opting for something without batteries, perhaps very cheap wind-up alarm clocks.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

I'm longing for someone with the facts at hand to give us the story of the pieces of eight caper, what Creed did, what Pepys did for him, and the role of Sandwich.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

The pieces of eight ... etc.

"...and, among other things, Sir G. Carteret and I had a great dispute about the different value of the pieces of eight rated by Mr. Creed at 4s. and 5d., and by Pitts at 4s. and 9d., which was the greatest husbandry to the King? he persisting that the greatest sum was; which is as ridiculous a piece of ignorance as could be imagined. However, it is to be argued at the Board, and reported to the Duke next week;..."
May 11th. 1663

"... But Mr. Creed's accounts stick still through the perverse ignorance of Sir G. Carteret, which I cannot safely control as I would. Thence to the Park again, and there walked up and down an hour or two till night with Creed, talking, who is so knowing, and a man of that reason, that I cannot but love his company, though I do not love the man, because he is too wise to be made a friend of, and acts all by interest and policy, but is a man fit to learn of. ..."

June 22nd. 1663

And much similar through the following two months including the curious country idyll when Pepys chases Creed through underbrush and they loose a dog. The pair, that is what they seem, remain "as thick as thieves" discussing the best ways to conduct business. The impression I have over the past year's entries is that Creed somehow just turns up in Pepys company but Pepys throughout never tries to get rid of him and always is there to assist.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

A curious entry.

From "Up and ready..." to " ...and so it rests, and I shall expect how he will deal with me." seems, to me, Jamesian in the number and complexity of the distinct reflected and referenced states of mind.

Clement  •  Link

The grudge is formed on November 21, 1663, when Sam first mentions being disatisfied with a gift Creed has presented him with: "a very noble parti-coloured Indian gowne for my wife."…

Which he promptly has appraised (how romantic) and finds it not worth as much as he believes Creed owes him for his favors.
Creed's First letter that Sam references is Creed's bestowing the gift. Sam's first letter was a rebuke, expecting a reward closer to 50 pounds.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Glyn, I remember in the charming sci-fantasy "Time After Time" Malcolm McDowell's HG Wells is like to do well trading a fairly ordinary (his era) necklace of his housekeeper's with a jeweller (Though he ends up at a pawnbroker, having no id for the sale-still makes a nice piece of change though).

"We are God's Archangels, Mr. Pepys." We shock Pepys with taser to make our power clear. "And God requires a minor return on his aid and benefit to you and your well-beloved of God wife."

Hmmn...A pleased Bess...However those words "return on aid and benefit"... She eyes Sam, frowning.

"What...Return, sirs...Ladies?..." Sam eyes us.

"Oh...Nothing major. Those portraits of you and your wife by Halys. A couple of your silver plates. That ship model of the Royal James. One of your remarkable slide rules." Nudge from several of us... Hiss... "Tales...Contracts..."

God wants my slide rule? A pleased if puzzled Sam.

Well, naturally...

"Right...and your "Book of Tales" and one of your old Contracts books."

"I think Creed sent them..." Bess hisses to Sam as he stares at us.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Part of Sam's charm that he can be furious with Creed yet so enormously appreciate his style in the response letter. Rather like (spoiler)

...his appreciation of Captain Scott later when he gains access to Scott's letters and documents after Salisbury's attempt to smear and destroy him as a 'papist' through Scott.

Robert Gertz  •  Link


Shaftsbury, not Salisbury...Don't know why I had Salisbury on the brain.

Xjy  •  Link

"curious entry"

So true, Michael R. You can feel the tides and currents pulling in so many different directions at different depths and speeds here. Negotiation after negotiation. No wonder he's a bit out of energy and starts worrying at the end of the day.

Pedro  •  Link

"away thence to my brother's"

No mention of the illness.

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

"Shaftsbury, not Salisbury...Don't know why I had Salisbury on the brain."
So glad it not be Sainsbury,otherwise Tesco will complain.

Lawrence  •  Link

"having a good dinner and the opening of my lampry (cutting a notch on one side) which proved very good"
Is this some kind of dried fish?

Lawrence  •  Link

"Then homewards and met Mr.Barrow, so back with him to the Mitre and sat talking of his business of his discontent in the Yard"
This is Barrows requiring two Labourers and a Clerk, so that he might do his Job better,(He's threatening to resign) Pepys and Conventry will help him in this matter, Pepys writing a letter to Commissioner Pett on the 16th of this Month. J.R. Tanner. Further Correspondence pp.14/15

Maurie Beck  •  Link

"having a good dinner and the opening of my lampry (cutting a notch on one side) which proved very good"

A lamprey (sometimes also called lamprey eel) is a jawless fish with a toothed, funnel-like sucking mouth, with which most species bore into the flesh of other fish to suck their blood. In zoology, lampreys are often not considered to be true fish because of their vastly different morphology and physiology.

Lampreys have long been used as food for humans. During the Middle Ages, they were widely eaten by the upper classes throughout Europe, especially during fasting periods, since their taste is much meatier than that of most true fish. King Henry I of England is said to have died from eating "a surfeit of lampreys"…

Lawrence  •  Link

Thanks Maurie, still think it strange that he cut a notch out of the side, I expect he finished it for supper?

Maurie Beck  •  Link

"where with great seriousness and strangeness on both sides he said his part and I mine, he sometimes owning my favour and assistance, yet endeavouring to lessen it, as that the success of his business was not wholly or very much to be imputed to that assistance: I to alledge the contrary, and plainly to tell him that from the beginning I never had it in my mind to do him all that kindnesse for nothing"

Sounds like a thoroughly enjoyable joust among "rivals".

Australian Susan  •  Link


I was puzzled by this. These eels are not large, but Sam uses the singular to refer to his main dinner dish. And the remark about the notch seems odd too - a notch taken from one lampry would be a teeny tiny meal! Might he mean a pie or pasty made with lamperies in it?

Pedro  •  Link


I came across a reasonable sized Lamprey while fishing on the river Severn, from the sorry state that it was in I would assume it was one of those that had completed spawning and making a sad attempt to return to the sea.

"There is a seasonal run of lampreys in the River Ouse each year starting in early May, and they migrate and attempt to swim back to the sea in mid-June. They die on their journey and none of them return to spawn for a second time."

River Ouse
A metre long lamprey from this stream was exhibited by the Southern Water Authority at the County Fair at Ardingly, East Sussex in 1981.…

Lawrence  •  Link

Now that make's sense to me A.susan,
Opened as in; opened the pie and out flew 4 & 20 Blackbirds, the notch was just to try it??? and proved good!!!

ruizhe  •  Link

Maybe Sam likes to eat his lampreys from the inside out, cutting a notch and sucking (or spooning) the innards out before consuming the flesh.

BTW, I'm too lazy to find it again, but Sam suspected that his brother has consumption before what's-her-name mentioned it. Perhaps, since TB takes a long time to kill, and people died at young ages all the time in those days that it was consideed no big deal.

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

The notch in the side of the lamprey is maybe for an easy removal of the skin.
With smoked eels for instance you should cut off the head and you can peel off the tough skin from the neck.

Australian Susan  •  Link

I'm sure it's Pie! Here's a recipe…
And it comes from the White Lion Inn at Smithfield. Published in a book 1675. Did Sam ever go there?? Anyway, sounds disgusting. OK, I'm vegetarian and find most meat things horrible. But not champagne of which I have just had too much. prospective son-in-law has just got his PhD. Any excuse for bubbles. we did not clebrate with lamprey pie. Or indeed any pie.
Sorry, Phil. Off topic. Cheers dear friends in the world of the 17th century.

Terry F  •  Link

"I think"

This is the first time in the Diary that this phrase occurs. It is one with this odd entry's reflexive quality: and this is Creed, companion on week-long rambles about the countryside.

The entry's theme seems to be weighing or evaluating, in monetary and non-monetary terms: what's a friendship worth?! 'Tis an artifact of the emergence of the bourgeoisie in full.

Cumsalisgrano  •  Link

"I think" must have read DesCartes.

Cumsalisgrano  •  Link

Notch be more than just a nick:
used in counting or marking, and also a derogatory meaning.
I. General uses.

1. a. Marked with or having a notch or notches; nicked, incised, indented.

2. Of hair: unevenly or closely cropped. Of a person: having unevenly or closely cropped hair. Obs.

3. a. An opening; a break or breach. 1615
b. Chiefly N. Amer. A narrow opening or defile through mountains; a deep narrow pass.
Common in place names in parts of New England, U.S.

1597 BP. J. HALL Virgidemiarvm III. vii. 66 All Brittish bare vpon the bristled skin, Close noched is his beard both lip and chin.

1611 R. COTGRAVE Dict. French & Eng. Tongues, Bertaudé, curtalled; also, notched, or cut vneuenly.

c1648 W. DAVENANT Vacation in London in Wks. (1673) 289 For Prentice notch'd he strait does call.

1681 DRYDEN Spanish Fryar Prol. 21 sig. Aivv, Ev'n as notcht Prentices whole Sermons write.

Terry F  •  Link

The basis of the issue with Creed is about two years old

Pepys did Creed a considerable accounting favor. He argued for the honoring of contingency and petty-cash claims made by Creed as Deputy-Treasurer of the Fleet in the Mediterranean under Sandwich in 1660-61. The first discourse of "Mr. Creed's accounts" that Pepys records is 28 March 1661…

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I shall take heed to the giving of my Lord notice of it hereafter whenever he goes out again."

Sc. whenever he sails again (to the Mediterranean). (L&M footnote)

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Lampreys are like overgrown leeches. Both are parasites. Yummy.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Lampreys are like overgrown leeches. Both are parasites. Yummy.

Tonyel  •  Link

"Says he after all, well, says he......."
This suddenly brings the conversation to life, accompanied no doubt by a wagging finger.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ‘ . . with great seriousness and strangeness on both sides he said his part and I mine . . ’

‘strangeness n. < strange < Old French
. . 2. a. Absence of friendly feeling or relations; discouraging or uncomplying attitude towards others; coldness, aloofness. Obs.
. . 1607 G. Chapman Bussy D'Ambois ii. 26 Alas, I feare my strangenesse will retire him.
1669 R. Montagu in Buccleuch MSS (Hist. MSS Comm.) (1899) I. 452 The King here lives at so much distance and strangeness with me . . ‘
Re: ' . . since there must be some condescension, that it do become me to begin it . . ‘

‘condescension, n. < late Latin . .
. . 3. Gracious, considerate, or submissive deference shown to another; complaisance. ? Obs.
. . 1692 R. Bentley Boyle Lect. ii. 5 In condescension to the Custom of their Country.
1693 J. Ray Three Physico-theol. Disc. (ed. 2) Pref. sig. av, He did it only in condescension to their weakness . .

†4. The action or fact of acceding or consenting; concession. Obs.
648 T. Manton Englands Spirituall Languishing 2 In obedience to your Order, and condescension to the requests of some Friends, I have now made it [this Sermon] publick.
1664 Dk. Albemarle in A. Marvell Wks. (1875) II. 99 That some condescentions and abatements be made for peace sake . . ‘


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