Tuesday 13 December 1664

Lay long in bed, then up, and many people to speak with me. Then to my office, and dined at noon at home, then to the office again, where we sat all the afternoon, and then home at night to a little supper, and so after my office again at 12 at night home to bed.

17 Annotations

First Reading

Rex Gordon  •  Link

Wrong diary?

This is what an entry in "The Diary of Rex Gordon" might look like. Except for the working-until-midnight part... once I'm home for supper the office will just have to get through the night on its own.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

On behalf of Dirk Van de Putte: Pepys has an off-day, while elsewhere someone writes (as recorded in the Carte Calendar):

William Coventry to Sandwich
Written from: [St James's]

Date: 13 December 1664

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 75, fol(s). 279
Document type: Holograph

Notifies that the sending away of the Dutch seamen may be deferred as the Duke expects that some new resolution will be taken in Council tomorrow. Adds that H.R.H. is very jealous that the Dutch Squadron at the Willings (which consists of 26 sail) may attempt to pass the Channel, either to convoy their ships, or to meet the Smyrna Fleet.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"at the Willings"

I assume this means something like "willing and able"...or?

language hat  •  Link

“at the Willings”

This is clearly a place name, but apparently anglicized; somebody familiar with 17th-century Holland would have to tell us what the original was (Willens?).

Pedro  •  Link

The Wielings

The channel leading to Flushing from the south-west.

(The Journal of Edward Montagu edited by Anderson)

Pedro  •  Link

The Wielings.

The above of course may still be an anglicized version.

Robert Gertz  •  Link


"That's it?"

"What? I suppose it wasn't the most thrilling day...But I was true to the facts."

"Oh, yeah."

"Sorry it's not a French novel with me storming a castle, dueling Count D'whatever, or surrounded by beautious mistresses."

"Now, Sam'l...It's just...Well, the first year was so exciting with the Restoration and all and whether we'd all survive. And then your gamboling up the success ladder..."

"Well...I'm still gaining ground steadily. I believe we touch 1,200Ls soon."


"Well, what do you want? I'm a naval administrator in an office."

"Oh, but you made it exciting those first years...I couldn't put it down. Then..."


"Well...Every entry now is 'Up betimes...or lay long...'"

"I consider the 'lay long' quite exciting..."

"Thank you. '...Sat at the office all day, went home for dinner, sat at the office, went home for supper, sat at the office, home to bed.' You could at least say, 'made passionate love to my adoring, exquistite half-French, possibly of noble descent, girl."

"They're not all like that. Well, I ask again...What do you suggest?"


"You need a mistress. Maybe two. One very complaisant, the other...Bit reluctant."

"What? Bess?"

"For the drama."

"Drama? If I had a mistress on top of my work, I'd be dead...Even not counting what you'd do to me."

"Leave it to me. I've always wanted to try my hand at writing...Course I'll have to change a few past entries."

"Bess? Historical accuracy?"

"You want to be accurate or the subject of endless conjecture and fascination?"

Hmmn... "Two mistresses you say?"

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The Wielings

Thanks, Pedro. I actually spent a good bit of time looking for a place on what were evidently the wrong maps of the Flushing/Vlissingen area.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

jealous (in Coventry's letter to Sandwich)
Another word that had meanings in the 17th century that are lost to us today. Coventry's use of the word lies somewhere in these two OED definitions:

5. Suspicious; apprehensive of evil, fearful. Const. of, or with subord. clause. Now dial.
c1532 G. Du Wes Introd. Fr. in Palsgr. 921 A man doutfull and suspect of jelous (soupeconeus). 1593 Shakes. Lucr. 800 Let not the iealous daie behold that face. 1607 Middleton Five Gallants i. i, My master is very jealous of the pestilence. 1622 Wither Mistr. Philar. in Arb. Garner IV. 420 Never did the jealous 'st ear Any muttering rumour hear. a1639 Wotton in Reliq. (1651) 524 The jealous Trout, that low did lie, Rose at a wel-dissembled Flie. 1755 B. Martin Mag. Arts & Sc. III. xiii. 398, I am jealous of some baneful Experiment to follow. 1868 Atkinson Cleveland Gloss., Jealous, apprehensive, ready to anticipate something+more or less unpleasant in its nature.

6. Suspiciously vigilant against, or to prevent, something (expressed or understood); vigilant in scrutinizing.
1601 R. Johnson Kingd. & Commw. (1603) 215 They are very iealous to shew themselves fearefull or base minded in worde or deede. 1632 J. Hayward tr. Biondi's Eromena 51 The Princesse+was jealous lest her griefe [for her brother's death] should grow to be displeased with her, for adventuring her selfe to the gust of a curious sight. 1709 Strype Ann. Ref. I. l. 499 They were very jealous of any Popish prince to become her husband. 1797 Mrs. Radcliffe Italian lxi. (1824) 641 He examined with a jealous eye the emotions he witnessed. 1843 Poe Purloined Let. Wks. 1864 I. 268 The most jealous scrutiny of the microscope. 1866 Rogers Agric. & Prices I. xxi. 549 Measures [of weight, etc.] were subject to jealous supervision.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The Wielings

Cf. Letters and papers relating to the First Dutch War: 1652 ..., Volume 17, Issue 2 edited by Samuel Rawson Gardiner, Christopher Thomas Atkinson:

Received a dispatch from the Board of Admiralty of Zeeland, dated from Middelburg, the 5th inst., making a report, amongst other things, as to the ships belonging to the said Board at present stationed off the Wielings, or to be sent thither at an early date; and also suggesting to their H.M. whether it would not be for the good of the service to allow the fire-ships at present off the Wielings, as aforesaid, and which are for the most part old ships, and consequently not fit for sea, to come within port instead of lying off the Wielings with the other ships, so that they may no longer have to ride at anchor in the rough sea;... https://books.google.com/books?id…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Pepys had a busy day yesterday, so it makes sense they had a Navy Board meeting (no doubt thinking about how to get canvas and other supplies if Louis XIV had closed all French ports), and Pepys diplomatically saying that he was mistaken about the Tangier Mole construction -- of course Lawson and Chomley know best -- and, politically-speaking, shut up about wanting the Prize Office. They may need more ships or to change assignments if the Dutch were issuing Letters of Marque in order to protect English ships ... this wasn't a dull day in the office. This was a catch-up day.

British Rose  •  Link

In the 17th century Pepys was working until nearly midnight. Beeswax candles must have been very expensive. I wonder how common it was for government workers like Pepys to labor until midnight. "

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

It's a government office so perhaps tallow candles rather than beeswax?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Hi British Rose ... they had a different work ethic in the 17th century. As one of the bosses, Pepys worked until it was done. If there was nothing important to do, and the office was "covered," he could go to the theater or wench chasing. My observation is that there had to be two of the Navy Board in the office all the time (to sign for deliveries, placate angry captains, etc.) because Pepys had to find another one at lunch one day to counter-sign an order. And when he went to Portsmouth for a few days he had to make sure the two MPs had agreed to be in the office before he could leave. He hasn't told us about the Clerks' work schedules.

He does work a lot of "overtime," which is true of exempt managers today. You need to be available to the drones doing the work during the day, and you need quiet time to plot future strategy and read the old files to discover where the bodies are buried.

The weekend, an 8-hour work day, paid overtime and paid holidays are brought to you courtesy of the Union movement in the early 20th century. Having done my share of drudge work, I thank them heartily.

As the Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey said, "What's a weekend?"

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Nate Lockwood ... Pepys was in charge of the Petty Cash, and so long as he could make a profit off the deal, I suspect they would have the best candles. They are all working a lot of war-related overtime in the dead of winter, so I think anything that improved productivity would be justified -- including keeping good Newcastle coal in the scuttle.

Harvey L  •  Link

I'm often struck by how little things really change... the senior execs work until the work is done regardless of the hours (likewise self employed)... people make important decisions based on incorrect 'facts' and rumour... the VIPs are no different in private than the rest of us... people do try to accumulate wealth for their retirement (despite modern academics claiming that 'retirement' is a modern concept)... and in the end 'man proposes but God disposes'.
Life goes on much as it always has.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Retirement nowadays is different

Nowadays, most developed countries have systems to provide pensions on retirement in old age, which may be sponsored by employers or the state. In many poorer countries, support for the old is still mainly provided through the family. Today, retirement with a pension is considered a right of the worker in many societies, and hard ideological, social, cultural and political battles have been fought over whether this is a right. In many western countries this right is mentioned in national constitutions. .... Retirement, or the practice of leaving one's job or ceasing to work after REACHING A CERTAIN AGE [my caps], has been around since around the 18th century. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ret…

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