Thursday 24 November 1664

Up and to the office, where all the morning busy answering of people. About noon out with Commissioner Pett, and he and I to a Coffee-house, to drink jocolatte, very good; and so by coach to Westminster, being the first day of the Parliament’s meeting. After the House had received the King’s speech, and what more he had to say, delivered in writing, the Chancellor being sicke, it rose, and I with Sir Philip Warwicke home and conferred our matters about the charge of the Navy, and have more to give him in the excessive charge of this year’s expense. I dined with him, and Mr. Povy with us and Sir Edmund Pooly, a fine gentleman, and Mr. Chichly, and fine discourse we had and fine talke, being proud to see myself accepted in such company and thought better than I am. After dinner Sir Philip and I to talk again, and then away home to the office, where sat late; beginning our sittings now in the afternoon, because of the Parliament; and they being rose, I to my office, where late till almost one o’clock, and then home to bed.

25 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F  •  Link

On behalf of Dirk Van de putte, an entry in the Carte Calendar

A Short Narrative of the late passages between his Majesty and the Dutch and of his Majesty's preparations thereupon ... (Delivered to the House of Lords)

Date: 24 November 1664

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 81, fol(s). 250-252v
Document type: Copy…

Nate  •  Link

"being proud to see myself accepted in such company and thought better than I am."

An anomaly, not of high birth but of high worth?

Bradford  •  Link

Ah, who does not wish to be thought better than one knows one is in one's heart? The kicker is that those who thus overestimate you expect you to live up to your false worth.

Bardi  •  Link

Nothing like a very good "jocolatte" on a November day. I may have missed it, but has anyone figured out how the kitchen help coped when people (sometimes several) just dropped by and stayed for dinner? It seems to have been a perfectly normal and frequent occurrence.

Dan Jenkins  •  Link

Bradford, in the words of Aral Vorkosigan (Bujold), "Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself. There is no more hollow feeling than to stand with your honor shattered at your feet while soaring public reputation wraps you in rewards. That's soul-destroying."

As someone who has stood in that spot, it is true. I have spent my life redeeming my honor.

I wonder how Sam perceives his honor versus his reputation? As the Diary shows, they are not congruent oft times.

Dan Jenkins  •  Link

The stress of that overestimate of one's false worth can be a spur to arise to the occasion and convert false to truth. To my mind, Sam has the energy and will, as well as the native ability, to do so, if he was so overestimated.

Pedro  •  Link

And from the Lords link that Terry highlights see the King’s speech to the Lords.

“I have a Fleet now at Sea worthy of the English Nation, and (to say no more) not inferior to any that hath been set out in any Age, and which (that I may use all Freedom with you) to discharge To-morrow, and replenish all My Stores, I am persuaded, would cost Me little less than Eight Hundred Thousand Pounds."

Also The King's Narrative concerning the Dutch Affairs, and his position on the Holmes expedition.

From: 'House of Lords Journal Volume 11: 24 November 1664', Journal of the House of Lords: volume 11: 1660-1666, pp. 624-627. URL:…. Date accessed: 25 November 2007.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I would wonder in what way Sam feels he does not live up to what these gentlemen perceive of him? Surely he's as able outside of military prowess. Has he been taken as being of more aristocratic birth than he is (based perhaps on his connection to Sandwich) and happily allowed others to assume it without a spoken denial? Or is our boy actually displaying an inferiority complex and self-doubt?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

" drink jocolatte..."

Hmmn. Neat name...Excuse me whilst I run to ye patent office and then phone Starbucks, Inc.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ...accepted in such company and thought better than I am."

And he forgot to tell us which of his various new suits he was wearing!

Australian Susan  •  Link


Kitchen staff would cook meat they had to hand (no refrigeration) and serving it up could be flexible - with fewer to dinners, it would last longer. There were local suppliers for most things you needed and staff to send out for things - even cook house meals - Sam used this 17th century takeaway once for guests and then got embarrassed when his servants served up the food still in its equivalent of plastic Chinese takeaway containers.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"and thought better than I am"

I'd wager that in this case "better" refers to Sam's social background/status, rather than any feelings of self-worth. Perhaps someone with access to the OED can look at the word for this meaning?

Bradford  •  Link

"Spot on, Todd!"---and much more in keeping with Mr. Pepys's identikit as vouchsafed thus far.

"He must come from the very best people," Sir Edmund proposed to Mr. Chichly as they came away from the meeting.

"A tailor's son, sir, who by his own exertions has made himself into the man you see today."

"You don't say!"
---from Horace de Rigueur's historical romance "Pepys's Progress" (1862)

cgs  •  Link

“better” not from the noun - to bet, as twose spelt in those days- better , bettor
OED 7. n. with poss. pron.: One's superior: a. in some personal quality or attainment; b. in rank or station. In the latter sense, now only in the plural, which was however from 16th to 18th c. often applied to a single person.

1594 SHAKES. Rich. III, I. ii. 140 His better doth not breath vpon the earth. 1859
c. Comb. with ns. used attrib., as better-class, -quality, -type.

1722 DE FOE Plague (1754) 9 Coaches fill'd with People of the better Sort

better, bettor, n. *
2 better, a., (n.), and adv. *
3 better, v.

A. adj. The comparative degree of GOOD (which see for phrases and idiomatic uses in which the force of better corresponds with that of the positive adj.): more good. I. As simple adjective.

1. Of greater excellence, of superior quality. a. Said of persons, in respect of physical, mental, or esp. moral qualities; also, of social standing.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Ah, Bradford, trotting out the old de Rigueur again ... it brings back such happy memories -- reading that under a shade tree during a lazy summer as a youth, planting the seeds of a lifelong fascination with England and the 17th century...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

But if it is that "better than I am" refers to background and status, my question remains-is Sam allowing colleagues to assume he is a member of the club, not concealing but not divulging his origins and to some extent trading on his cousin Montagu's status? If so, I wonder how dangerous that game could be...


"A tailor's son."

"My God. But I thought he was Sandwich's cousin?!"

"Undistinguished branch...You know how it is, even in the best of families."

"Unbelievable... Morris!!"


"That...Fellow sitting in my front parlor. Show him the servants' entrance and keep him in the servants' kitchen till I'm ready to speak with him."

cgs  •  Link

status: /better/worser.
At a given point in time a guy [or gal] make their mark in the world and joins ranks of the five baronial levels, and the offspring reap the benefits until one of them, blots his copy book and looses the wealth along with the status that came with the original success, now the the genetic derivatives start all over again.
Every one [almost ] likes to take credit for their genetic association. But the odds of being a member of the tip of the pyramid are less than one percent.
Every generation, there is new stock to supply supply superior genetic variations.

Pedro  •  Link

On this day De Ruyter…

De Ruyter arrives at Sierra Leone to allow crews to land for a few days, to take in water and clean the ships. He stayed for some days making treaties with the negroes in the neighbourhood…De Ruyter and Meppel caused their names, with their rank and the date, to be cut into a rock which still exists and can be found at Freetown.

(Life of Admiral De Ruyter by Blok)

Pedro  •  Link

Also around this date…

De Ruyter sent four ships of the smallest draught up the river (Sierra Leone) to visit an English trading colony that had settled on an island. A number of Dutch prisoners were found there, including a Dutch family that had been taken by the English from Goree. As a reprisal for the capture of goods from the Dutch Company, a number of goods were confiscated by the Dutch; I400 elephant tusks and I000 copper cauldrons used by the Negroes, as well as I500 iron staves were taken, and only enough was left to the English traders to continue their trade for a short time. An English ship was relieved of its cargo, then provided with ballast and set free. De Ruyter made an agreement with the Captain whereby, for a consideration of £80, he was to sail direct to Holland and take letters to De Witt at Amsterdam; these letters were to be delivered not later than March 65. The English skipper duly performed his errand.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... the House had received the King’s speech, and what more he had to say, delivered in writing, ..."

His Majesties gracious speech to both houses of Parliament on Thursday, November 24. 1664. Being the first day of their meeting.
London : printed by John Bill and Christopher Barker, printers to the Kings most excellent Majesty, 1664.

7, [1] p. ; 2⁰. Wing (2nd ed.), C3051
Published also in Edinburgh

Second Reading

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ’ . . to drink jocolatte . . ’

‘chocolate, n. and adj.: Forms: . . 17 chocolett, 17 jacolat, 17 jocalat, 17– choc'late . . < Spanish < Nahuatl . .
1. A hot drink made by mixing prepared chocolate (sense A. 2a) or cocoa with water or milk (and sometimes other ingredients) . . originally made from a paste of ground roasted cocoa beans . . and typically very thick . . very popular and fashionable across Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries; . .
. . 1664 S. Pepys Diary 24 Nov. (1971) V. 329 To a Coffee-house to drink Jocolatte, very good . . ‘

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ‘ . . being proud to see myself accepted in such company and thought better than I am . . ’

This concerns social status, NOT personal worth! This is obvious to any Englishman: Pepys is gratified that he is being accepted as a gentleman by other gentlemen, despite his humble origin as a taylor’s son.

This was not inevitable: he might, in military terms, have found himself stuck in the role of senior NCO (non-commissioned officer), trusted and relied on to do the work but never accepted as an equal by the gents who ran the show by virtue of their breeding.

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