Saturday 8 October 1664

All the morning at the office, and after dinner abroad, and among other things contracted with one Mr. Bridges, at the White Bear on Cornhill, for 100 pieces of Callico to make flaggs; and as I know I shall save the King money, so I hope to get a little for my pains and venture of my own money myself.

Late in the evening doing business, and then comes Captain Tayler, and he and I till 12 o’clock at night arguing about the freight of his ship Eagle, hired formerly by me to Tangier, and at last we made an end, and I hope to get a little money, some small matter by it.

So home to bed, being weary and cold, but contented that I have made an end of that business.

10 Annotations

First Reading

jeannine  •  Link

"so I hope to get a little for my pains and venture of my own money myself" and later "and I hope to get a little money, some small matter by it". Do I detect a little theme in today's Diary entry?? Perhaps a little area of concern running through Sam's mind?

This entry brings to my mind those old cartoon characters whose eyes would open and close to the 'cha-ching" of a cash register and dollar signs would take the place of the pupils in their eyes. In today's "new age" world, Sam could be a lesson in creative visualization-focus on the objective and it will come to you! He's got his eyes focused firmly on the almighty pound (with a slight glance to the side every now and then when a good looking lady walks by) and he's ringing up the profits.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"White Bear"
So they knew about Polar Bears!!

GrahamT  •  Link

They probably knew about polar bears, even before Canada was explored, as the bears' natural range takes them into the Russias and Greenland.
However, a White Bear pub sign could also have been a heraldic symbol - like the Red Lion (John of Gaunt) and White Hart (Richard II) - rather than a representation of a real animal.
The white bear was used on the arms of Richard III's wife Queen Anne.

jeannine  •  Link

From "The Navy White Book" edited by Robert Latham

Octobr 8. 1664. A most disgraceful charge brought by Sir W. Batten against some deals of Sir W. Warren. But most effectually removed. This day, after some months of having had them received into the yard at Deptford, Sir W. Warren came to the Board to desire that Mr Shish might have an order to call Mr. Chr. Pett to his assistance in the valuing some deals and other goods that were along with his last ship of masts. Sir W.B. was mightily against it, that Mr Pett should not go. That it was better to [employ] somebody that is a stranger and that buys deals in the town. Which I told him is not only a new case, but argues the King's offices unfit to be trusted in anything, if not in this. At last he told us the reason, and that is that Mr Pett did value the same deals served in another ship at Woolwich at 5£. 5s. and were paid for so by this Board in his absence, which are not worth 3£., being all white deals and bad woods. And therefore Pett must for his honour rate these so too. Now, that there is a folly, for we pay not absolutely because we value things, but because the quality being sent us, along with the opinion of the price, we think things worth is. And he said that Sir G. Carteret and Sir J Mennes and he had seen them in the yard and wondered to see so bad good received in, and that somebody that understands deals as well as any man in England said they were not worth 3£. per centum. Sir W. Warren was called for in, and I told him what was said against his deals. He said that one known very well to the Board had given himself, to sell again, 5£. 5s. per centum for the very same deals out of the same ship. This was so thundering an answer, that I took it up; and though he would have long concealed his name, yet I did urge him to tell, and it was Mr Wood, and promises to give us the deals if this be not true. Sir W.B. would have gathered some argument from their being the master's deals, and so he could pick out the best. To that Sir W.W. answered they were indeed the master's deals, but sold with his knowledge and by his directions, and were his own very deals, and no better in any sort, but the very same. This struck all dead, and Sir W.B. quite mad, and Mr Coventry and myself did declare very ill doings and intentions to be meant to Sir W.W. if this be so -as he puts the value of all his goods upon the truth of it.

Martin  •  Link

"so I hope to get a little for my pains and venture of my own money myself"
So, Sam's method here and in other deals is, in effect, to purchase the goods himself and then resell them to the Navy at a profit. Presumably, this is covered by the submission of a suitable third party invoice. And it's all right in his mind so long as he can still "save the King money", just not quite as much as the King could have saved in a straight-up deal. While this would be grounds for termination for any public servant today, clearly in Sam's day it was standard practice, and I don't think we can indict him for it too much. Plus, in our time we still have such things as the no-bid contract Halliburton got in Iraq, and many other egregious instances of "legal" feeding at the public trough.

Terry F  •  Link

Martin, L&M tell us that this calico-purchase was an exceptional violation of a rule against members of the Navy Board functioning as contractors.

Martin  •  Link

I'm glad to learn they actually had a rule, but Sam certainly finds a lot of occasions to "get a little for his pains".

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I believe there's an edict or letter from the Roman Imperial days of an emperor demanding an end, "I say, an end, to the corruption and endless bribe-taking..." among Imperial bureaucrats.

We still make rules and laws...And our capitals are still filled with lobbyists and corruption cases.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

From "The Navy White Book" edited by Robert Latham

I think this story concerns a set-to at the office today. Sir William Batten requests that Pett evaluate some of Sir Wm Warren's masts that were delivered some time ago, and not Mr. Shish.

After some demands for an explanation for this break with standard procedures, Batten reveals that Pett in the past evaluated similar masts at a greater price than they were actually worth. Batten thinks Shish will value at a lesser figure which will upset Warren.

Sir Wm Warren is called in, and his defense after some prodding was that Wm Wood had subcontracted him to charge that amount, and Pett had agreed to the valuation, even though it was inferior wood and as Master he had known it but it was the best available from that shipment.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

If I were Pepys, I'd be less enthusiastic about doing business with Capt. Taylor. Not only did Pepys waste a lot of afternoons haggling over insurance issues on Taylor's behalf in 1663, but also the Eagle was not handled in a business-like manner either:…
Monday 13 June 1664
So up at 5 o’clock, and with Captain Taylor on board her at Deptford, and found all out of order, only the soldiers civil, and Sir Arthur Bassett a civil person. I rated at Captain Taylor, whom, contrary to my expectation, I found a lying and a very stupid blundering fellow, good for nothing, and yet we talk of him in the Navy as if he had been an excellent officer, but I find him a lying knave, and of no judgment or dispatch at all. After finding the condition of the ship, no master, not above four men, and many ship’s provisions, sails, and other things wanting, I went back and called upon Fudge, whom I found like a lying rogue unready to go on board, but I did so jeer him that I made him get everything ready, and left Taylor and H. Russell to quicken him, and so away and I by water on to White Hall, where I met his Royal Highness at a Tangier Committee about this very thing, and did there satisfy him how things are, at which all was pacified without any trouble, and I hope may end well, but I confess I am at a real trouble for fear the rogue should not do his work, and I come to shame and loss of the money I did hope justly to have got by it.

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