Saturday 21 May 1664

Up, called by Mr. Cholmely, and walked with him in the garden till others came to another Committee of Tangier, as we did meet as we did use to do, to see more of Povy’s folly, and so broke up, and at the office sat all the morning, Mr. Coventry with us, and very hot we are getting out some ships.

At noon to the ’Change, and there did some business, and thence home to dinner, and so abroad with my wife by coach to the New Exchange, and there laid out almost 40s. upon her, and so called to see my Lady Sandwich, whom we found in her dining-room, which joyed us mightily; but she looks very thin, poor woman, being mightily broke. She told us that Mr. Montagu is to return to Court, as she hears, which I wonder at, and do hardly believe.

So home and to my office, where late, and so home to supper and to bed.

13 Annotations

First Reading

cape henry  •  Link

Pepys' delight in these private scoldings of Povy are a true sign of the bureaucrat's heart that beats within him.

Terry F  •  Link

"my Lady Sandwich...looks very thin, poor woman, being mightily broke."

Not a remark on her financial condition, but on her present health, post-pox.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Does Sam's disparagement of Povy betray a disapproval of Povy's way of organizing the Tangier accounts, or his standards (or lack of standards) for allowable expenses, or his ineffectuality, or his refusal to go along with the majority of the committee on procedure and judgments, or something else? Does Sam have anything more than a sense of propriety at stake here?(For example, excluding the King's purse: bureaucratic turf, personal benefit.) Can the puzzle of the Tangier accounts be unriddled from what has come before, or is it necessary to turn to outside sources? Can someone point me to prior key passages or informed annotation that might explain the matter?

Michael Roinson  •  Link

more of Povy's folly,

Andrew, the encyclopedia entry and L&M notes, added by Language Hat, provide a little more back ground; the relationship was very complex.

-- Without adding too many spoilers Povy, whether professionally competent by the standards of the day or no, seems to have been personally very decent to SP, introducing him to influential people giving him hospitality etc., and to have been treated poorly by him; Povy was pursuing Pepys for accountings and moneys due for many years after the diary closes and being fobbed off with irregular and almost insultingly small payments. To this annotator it would seem that Povy's future trust in and working with SP was yet another example of his 'folly.'

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

Povy, it appears to be one of those nice people that be too agreeable, credulous, thereby dismissed, as most people like people to have some backbone and thereby do not let every Thomas, Richard and Harold use them as a door mat.

Pedro  •  Link


His name will be mentioned on other occasions, and could shed more light on the Tangier Accounts.

Terry F  •  Link

Povey, wealthy merchant-lawyer (barrister of Gray's Inn) was perhaps "agreeable" on the many commissions on which he sat, but I doubt that the wheeler-dealer in Caribbean resources was "credulous": he seems to have had far too much on his plate, and may have had too many large numbers in his head. See Root, Winfred T., "The Lords of Trade and Plantations, 1675-1696." American Historical Review 23 (October 1917): 20-41.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

(Accidently posted this part on the previous...)

Sam seems to be ever so slowly distancing himself from the Montagus... He's hinting my Lady is out of the loop at Court, unlike our very well appraised hero and I wonder at his calling her "Lady Sandwich" rather than the old "my Lady".


Penn's stock with Coventry is up these days due to his usefulness in the coming war...I wonder if that's encouraging a resentful Sam to find a new target in Povy. He does seem to enjoy taking shots at, even ridiculing those he once considered his superiors as he finds them wanting.

Terry F  •  Link

Povey's mind

Not a dullard, FWIW, Thomas Povey was an Original Fellow of the Royal Society (20/05/1663), and in 1693 would publish The Method, Manner and Order of the Transmutation of Copper into Brass, etc. By Thomas Povey, Esq; Brought into the Royal Soc. of Which He is a Fellow
Thomas Povey, Philosophical Transactions (1683-1775), Vol. 22, 1700 - 1701 (1700 - 1701), pp. 474-475.…

Second Reading

Marquess  •  Link

I have just been listening to the Hattie Naylor dramistsation of Samuel Pepys' Diary, Povey comes across as a complete fool or near enough.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

DNB has: ‘ . . To the moderate-minded Povey, the Restoration was both pleasing and profitable. In 1661 he was granted the receiver-generalship for the rents and revenues in Africa and America, the office ‘being framed by him and he much versed in plantation affairs’ . . and appointed to the council of trade (1660) and the secretaryship of the committee for foreign plantations (1661).

In 1660 he became treasurer of the duke of York's household, and in 1662 treasurer of Tangier and surveyor-general of its victualling department. In 1662 also he was made a master of requests extraordinary, with the promise of the next ordinary vacancy. Such prodigious pluralism took its toll, however. Povey was clearly overextended . . ‘

To be continued . .

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ‘ . . very hot we are getting out some ships.’

‘hot, adj. and n.1 < Germanic . . II. Extended uses.
8. Excited (originally with reference to the attendant increase in bodily heat).
a. Of a person, action, etc.: characterized by intensity of feeling; fervent, passionate; zealous, eager, keen . .
. . 1667 S. Pepys Diary 12 July (1974) VIII. 332 The Duke of hot for it ‘. . .’
Re: ‘ . . she looks very thin, poor woman, being mightily broke . . ‘

‘broke . . 5. Crushed or exhausted by labour, etc.; with strength or power gone; enfeebled.
. . 1615 G. Sandys Relation of Journey 118 Such a number of broken reason of their strong labour and weake foode.
1757 Lady M. W. Montagu Let. 7 July (1967) III. 131 Sir Charles Williams, who I hear is much broken both in his spirits and Constitution . . ‘


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