Monday 14 November 1664

Up, and with Sir W. Batten to White Hall, to the Lords of the Admiralty, and there did our business betimes. Thence to Sir Philip Warwicke about Navy business: and my Lord Ashly; and afterwards to my Lord Chancellor, who is very well pleased with me, and my carrying of his business. And so to the ’Change, where mighty busy; and so home to dinner, where Mr. Creed and Moore: and after dinner I to my Lord Treasurer’s, to Sir Philip Warwicke there, and then to White Hall, to the Duke of Albemarle, about Tangier; and then homeward to the Coffee-house to hear newes. And it seems the Dutch, as I afterwards found by Mr. Coventry’s letters, have stopped a ship of masts of Sir W. Warren’s, coming for us in a Swede’s ship, which they will not release upon Sir G. Downing’s claiming her: which appears as the first act of hostility; and is looked upon as so by Mr. Coventry.

The Elias, coming from New England (Captain Hill, commander), is sunk; only the captain and a few men saved. She foundered in the sea.

So home, where infinite busy till 12 at night, and so home to supper and to bed.

26 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F  •  Link

Absent Dirk - from the Carte Calendar

An Account concerning the Guard-Poles, and Beacons; Watches and Wards; in the Isle of Wight. By Thomas, Lord Colepeper of Thoresway.

Date: 14 November 1664
Shelfmark: MS. Carte 75, fol(s). 251-252

Document type: Holograph. Drawn up for the information of the Lord High Admiral, and of the Vice-Admiral of England. With an endorsement by the latter.…

Terry F  •  Link

The Earl of Sandwich is the Vice-Admiral who endorsed the report drawn up for the Duke of York and himself.

jeannine  •  Link

"The Elias, coming from New England (Captain Hill, commander), is sunk; only the captain and a few men saved"

How horrible to be a man left aboard a sinking ship, knowing that you are about to drown. God rest their souls.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"The Elias, coming from New England (Captain Hill, commander), is sunk; ..."

Remarkably off hand if SP is responsible, directly or indirectly, for this Royal ship making the voyage and had a financial interest in or took a 'facilitation payment' for either the lease or the cargo -- one assumes SP got his money up front otherwise we would have heard of his personal loss.

"... at night with Captain Tayler consulting how to get a little money by letting him the Elias to fetch masts from New England."…

Australian Susan  •  Link

So Captain Tayler was the Master and Captain and saved and Captain Hill was the Commander and drowned. Yes? or did Tayler direct operations from shore? And Hill was saved? It does seem odd of Sam not to comment on this calamity.

Australian Susan  •  Link

And so this means they have lost a load of masts through being seized by the Dutch and a load through foundering of the ship (overladen in those pre-Plimsoll line days maybe) Will they now have a shortage?

Pedro  •  Link

The Elias.

On the 4th we saw that the King proposed Taylor for Commissioner at Portsmouth, and had been laid aside at Chatham on the Duchess of Albemarle’s earnest interposition for another at the Restoration. He then became a private shipbuilder and timber merchant. I think that on the 19th April Sam was letting the Elias to Taylor as a merchant, and he or Sam may appoint Captain Hill to sail to New England.

Captain Hill went on to be commander of the Coventry in the Fleet list of April 1665.

I don't think this will cause a shortage of masts as the English will probably go on to detain Dutch ships.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

What about Sweden? Can't imagine they're too pleased to have a ship stopped on the high seas.

The Vatican...

Kneeling figure kissing ring of the Supreme Pontiff...

"Speak, Cardinal..."

"Holiness...Our plans proceed well. Thanks to the influence of our agents the heretic Dutch have now stopped a ship of the diabolic Swede to seize an English cargo."

"Excellent. Soon all the major heretic powers will be at each other's throats...Exactly as I have foreseen."

"The Hand of the Almighty can clearly be distinguished in these fortunate events, Holiness."

Ruben  •  Link

The Elias
for information about the Elias.
The Elias had the same 34 cannons as in July 1652, when it was a Dutch ship. See: http://anglo-dutch-wars.blogspot.… or…
The Kapitein was Jacob Sijbertsz Spanheijm .

Before 1660 (I do not know when), the ship fell to the English. When Pepys went to Netherland to look for his King, the Elias was one of the fleet.

2)The Elias was one of four English ships that helped in the conquest of New Amsterdam (1664). See:…
I presume the Elias was in his way back from this military adventure when she sunk.
More than that: It looks to me that Pepys and his friend Captain Tailor knew nothing of this adventure when speaking months ago about making money with the American masts. They only knew the ship had to sail to New England, but if you read the story of how New Netherlands fell, you see that only Collonel Nicholls knew the real objective of his squadron.
Pepys was trying to make money from a little piece of information, but as we see, to little...

Bradford  •  Link

"infinite busy": the pressure of modern life. Thought experiment: try to remember when you would not have known what "" meant. Next: how many centuries back must one seek before the sentiment behind "infinite busy" would be incomprehensible. Was anyone, say, infinite busy in 1164, or 1007?

Pedro  •  Link

"masts...Will they now have a shortage?"

Maybe there will be, could be a stategic move by the Dutch!

Of interest may be a summary of information from British Foreign Policy 1660-72 (Feiling)...

In 1664 the immediate purpose of the government was a Northern Alliance against Holland...Since the Restoration relations with both Denmark and Sweden had been friendly but distant, and restricted to commerce with treaties signed in 1661.

By political tradition and commerce Denmark was fast tied to Holland. To Sweden on the other hand, leaned all the surviving Cromwellians and the vital demand for our naval supplies. In September Henry Coventry had been sent to Sweden as envoy, being an obvious target for any search for an ally against Holland or France.

The Dutch Navy had robbed Sweden of Copenhagen in1658, and the Dutch encroachment in Cape Corso and in America all of which Sweden was demanding redress.

cgs  •  Link

Downing being in the Hague, was he helping or was he instigating?
"...which they will not release upon Sir G. Downing’s claiming her: which appears as the first act of hostility..."
It doth seem that every one in power is egging on the conflict so that big " proPhits" can be made at the expense of the "hi jak " tars.

Rule Brittania!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...Was anyone, say, infinite busy in 1164, or 1007?"

Certainly. And as they had to do it all, probably even busier in many ways than us.

around 1000-1100


"That castle won't build itself, peasant! Where's my armor? It's four am and we haven't started bundling me up in my suit yet? We'll be here till ten. Where are my estate reports? Scribe!!"


"Ships, horses, pigs...Long-bows, where are my long-bows. Has anyone tallied the arrows? Scribe, go and tally the arrows."

"Sir, King Harold's envoys are here! You want to see them now or after we set sail?"

"Scribe of the Acts!"

One damned thing after another...I hate wartime.


"Lord, not another 16 hour court procession...How am I to get the army to Manzikert by next month? What's this?"

"The imperial grain inventory, Lord High Domesticus Clerk of All Acts. And the fleet admiral wishes to know if he will be sailing for Bari or no?"


Australian Susan  •  Link

Ivo - this surely must be the best preserved wreck ever! Wonder if it is a ship Sam had to do with ever? This is a story to follow with interest. Hope the TV programme gets bought by one of our channels.

Re masts:

Ships were always needing new masts - like cars need tyres today. One of the things Lt. Cook got excited about when he surveyed the east coast of Australia in 1770 was finding Norfolk Island with its native pines which he thought would make the Island an excellent place for ships to stop off and get new masts. Unfortunately, Norfolk Pines grow very fast and are not strong - as masts they snap too easily (Cook also had the idea that the Island could be used to grow flax for sailmaking, but flax did not do well in the climate)

Paul Chapin  •  Link

The ship is indeed beautiful, and marvelously preserved. Thanks, Ivo, for the link. But a 25m trading vessel, apparently without guns, would likely have been too small and insignificant to ever come to Sam's attention.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...Methought that Gloucester stumbled; and, in falling,
Struck me, that thought to stay him, overboard,
Into the tumbling billows of the main.
Lord, Lord! methought, what pain it was to drown!
What dreadful noise of waters in mine ears!
What ugly sights of death within mine eyes!
Methought I saw a thousand fearful wrecks;
Ten thousand men that fishes gnaw'd upon;
Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,
Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels,
All scatter'd in the bottom of the sea:
Some lay in dead men's skulls; and, in those holes
Where eyes did once inhabit, there were crept,
As 'twere in scorn of eyes, reflecting gems,
Which woo'd the slimy bottom of the deep,
And mock'd the dead bones that lay scatter'd by."
-Clarence, Richard III.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Great quote, Robert. It recalled to me Ariel's song in "The Tempest":
"Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that does fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! Now I hear them – Ding-dong, bell."

Pedro  •  Link

Seniority in the flag ranks.

From The Command of the Oceans by NAM Rodger.

“Though the flag ranks were still only temporary appointments and not ranks in the modern style, they fell into an established order of seniority: after the Duke York came the Admirals of the White and Blue, then the three Vice-Admirals (Red, White and Blue in that order) and the three Rear Admirals likewise.”

(Maybe of interest also on the Dutch side)…

“The Dutch fleet organization, by contrast, reflected political rather than operational priorities. Rivalry between the admiralties had generated a plethora of flag-officers. To accommodate the fleet was divided into seven squadrons, each with three admirals or commodores. Most squadrons were made up of ships from mixed admiralties, commanded in many cases by admirals unknown to their subordinates, and there was no established order seniority between them.”

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"And it seems the Dutch, as I afterwards found by Mr. Coventry’s letters, have stopped a ship of masts of Sir W. Warren’s, coming for us in a Swede’s ship, which they will not release upon Sir G. Downing’s claiming her: which appears as the first act of hostility; and is looked upon as so by Mr. Coventry."

Coventry wrote: 'matters begin to grow to an heigth'. See hiww two letters to Pepys and to the Board, 12 November, Portsmouth: Rawl. A 174. ff. 491+, 497+ (the first endorsed by Pepys: 'Sir Wm. Warren mast ship stopt...the fist act looking like hostility'). The ship (the St Jacob) was released in late December, only after Downing, the English envoy, had twsice obtained orders to that effect: CSPClar., v. 440, 453 etc. (L&M note)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"The Elias, coming from New England (Captain Hill, commander), is sunk; only the captain and a few men saved. She foundered in the sea."

Cf. Lanyon to Pepys, Plymouth, 11 November: She was a frigate serving in Nicholls's squadron which had taken New Amsterdam. There were 21 survivors out of a ship's company of 107. Pepys has a note on the 'sorry...inquiry ' made into her loss in NWB,. p. 85. (L&M note)

LKvM  •  Link

Shakespeare seems to have had intimate awareness of what it's like to contemplate dying in a storm at sea and hitting the bottom as a somehow-sentient corpse. I've read an interesting argument that he traveled to the Dark Lady's home village and church in Italy, necessarily on a ship at least part of the way. I do wonder.

Jonathan V  •  Link

This site got some press today:…

It's review of "17c", a play that uses the Diary as its basis. Toward the end of the review, it mentions that two women ("Pepys aficianados") sit on the side of the stage: "Bookish annotators, they provide context and commentary on a Pepys website, and quibble comically about petty details." The words "Pepys website" link to here.

Sounds like an interesting production.

Liz  •  Link

I continue to be amazed that people just turn up for dinner. I’d be in a right tizz if this happened to me. Also, I love the fact that BBC links are still live when so many elicit the dreaded 404 message!

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Liz, Pepys does mention arriving at people's homes, and finding the table full, or some other reason it wasn't appropriate to join the group. He leaves, and it doesn't appear to be considered a blunder or ill-mannered on either side. I suspect the doorman/maid says something like, "Good afternoon, Mr. Pepys. I'm sorry, but dinner has begun and the table is full. Perhaps tomorrow ...?"

And I also appreciate the BBC maintaining their links and podcasts for years.

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