Wednesday 11 January 1664/65

Up, and very angry with my boy for lying long a bed and forgetting his lute. To my office all the morning. At noon to the ’Change, and so home to dinner. After dinner to Gresham College to my Lord Brunker and Commissioner Pett, taking Mr. Castle with me there to discourse over his draught of a ship he is to build for us. Where I first found reason to apprehend Commissioner Pett to be a man of an ability extraordinary in any thing, for I found he did turn and wind Castle like a chicken in his business, and that most pertinently and mister-like, and great pleasure it was to me to hear them discourse, I, of late having studied something thereof, and my Lord Brunker is a very able person also himself in this sort of business, as owning himself to be a master in the business of all lines and Conicall Sections: Thence home, where very late at my office doing business to my content, though [God] knows with what ado it was that when I was out I could get myself to come home to my business, or when I was there though late would stay there from going abroad again. To supper and to bed.

This evening, by a letter from Plymouth, I hear that two of our ships, the Leopard and another, in the Straights, are lost by running aground; and that three more had like to have been so, but got off, whereof Captain Allen one: and that a Dutch fleete are gone thither; which if they should meet with our lame ships, God knows what would become of them. This I reckon most sad newes; God make us sensible of it! This night, when I come home, I was much troubled to hear my poor canary bird, that I have kept these three or four years, is dead.

49 Annotations

First Reading

Eric Walla  •  Link

[God] knows with what ado it was that when I was out I could get myself to come home to my business, or when I was there though late would stay there from going abroad again.

OK, trying to make sense ... does this mean he found himself wanting to stay out on the town rather than return to work, then when he was back at work he had a hard time keeping himself from going out to seek pleasure again?

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Conicall Sections"

"Conic sections are among the oldest curves, and is an oldest math subject studied systematically and thoroughly."…

Also see

Brouncker was a most able mathematician, and the second (and long-serving -- 1662-1677) president of the Royal Society. "He was the first in England to take interest in generalised continued fractions and, following the work of John Wallis, he provided development in the generalised continued fraction of pi."

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Troubles" in Ulster have contnued, says the Carte Calendar

Ossory to Ormond
Written from: [Dublin]

Date: 11 January 1665

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 220, fol(s). 199
Document type: Holograph

Sends further copies of examinations upon recent political conspiracies [in Ulster]. Describes the military measures that have been taken.

In the writer's judgment, it is clear that Irishman [meaning (as the context shews) such Irishmen as were controlled by the Romanist Clergy] and Fanatic, although in most things so opposed to one other, "will agree in opposition to the King's authority ... by the union of those that head them".…

Martha Rosen  •  Link

Could "mister-like" mean "masterfully"? Also, "wind Castle like a chicken" sounds like part of a commonly used phrase. Does anybody recognize it?

Martha Wishart  •  Link

"wind Castle like a chicken" is wonderful. Now, I think, to wind someone up means to tease or annoy them. Do you think Pepys is using this in the same sense?


Terry Foreman  •  Link

The L&M Select Glossary says that “wind like a chicken” means to "wind round one's little finger," which doesn't explain WHY THAT simile. I thought of my Grandma's wringing a chicken's neck to prepare it for dinner; not quite the same.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Anyone know how you "wind a chicken"?

Paul Chapin  •  Link

dead canary
Well, this is the first we've heard of this creature, so far as I can recall, so I guess that makes it more plausible that Sam could have had an eagle on the premises without telling us about it either.

I hope the canary didn't die from carbon monoxide or other noxious gases that could also affect the human inhabitants.

Brian  •  Link

Could "wind Castle like a chicken" be analogous to slowly turning him on a spit over a fire??

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I was much troubled to hear my poor canary bird, that I have kept these three or four years, is dead."

It's been kept 5 years: Friday 25 January 1660/61 "This night comes two cages, which I bought this evening for my canary birds, which Captain Rooth this day sent me."

This sources reports "Average lifespan for canaries is 4-7 years." though longer-lived canaries are also reported.

AussieRene  •  Link

Terry, I understand what a "maths (abbreviated name for mathematics)subject" is but what is a "math" subject?

Capt.Petrus.S.Dorpmans  •  Link


"...This evening, by a letter from Plymouth, I hear that two of our ships, the Leopard and another, in the Straights, are lost by running aground;.."

See entry on January 14th, where the names of the ships are given as "Phoenix" and "Nonsuch". The "Phoenix" was a fourth-rate, or thirty-eight guns, built at Woolwich in 1647 by Peter Pett, Jun.

(The Diary of Samuel Pepys by H.B. Wheatley. Random House.New York.USA.Brampton, London, Febr.1893).

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

I hear that two of our ships, the Leopard and another, in the Straights, are lost by running aground; and that three more had like to have been so, but got off

Surely the link is wrong here? These must be the Dover Straights in the English Channel where, only a few days ago, a large container ship ran aground on a sandbank in spite of all its navigation aids. They used to row out to an area of the Goodwin Sands to play cricket at exceptionally low tides - I wonder if that still happens?

Pedro  •  Link

Captain..."See entry on January 14th"

I think that is the general convention on the site not to mention events that are known to be recorded later in the Diary. If anyone thinks it is needed they normally place SPOILER (in capitals) before the mention so that those who wish, and I think this is the majority, can watch events as they unfold.

Pedro  •  Link

I hear that two of our ships, the Leopard and another, in the Straights,

Tom, they are ships in Allen’s squadron who, as far as Sam is concerned at this present moment, would be in the Med. I presume the news was received from a homecoming merchantman. He would have known that Allen had been sent to the Med to “deal” with the Barbaries. In fact he had concluded another peace in Algiers.

(more could be said but it would be a spoiler!)

Amanda French  •  Link

"Math" is what we call it in the U.S. instead of "maths." Although "an oldest math subject" is weird. But Terry's just quoting.

Ruben  •  Link

"two of our ships, the Leopard and another, in the Straights, are lost by running aground..."

It was Henry Trengrouse (where did he pick that name?) who cared enough and was inventive enough to develop a system to save the lives of the poor people on the stranded ships. Just a pity it was hundreds of years later.

Nate  •  Link

"Anyone know how you “wind a chicken”?"

Chase it until it can't run anymore? Continue to challenge assertions until the asserter has no arguments left?

language hat  •  Link

"wind a chicken"

"Wind" means "wring" here. OED:

5.a. trans. To put into a curved or twisted form or state; to bend; to twist; to wring. Obs.
[...]1581 G. PETTIE tr. Guazzo's Civ. Conv. III. (1586) 126 They would winde her neck behinde her, like a chicken [orig. le torcerebbono il collo].

Gerry  •  Link

"oldest math subject" is an apt description of conic sections viz the four curves that can be cut from a cone. The Greeks studied them.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The war-beat advances apace; Dirk might warn the boys in the taverns to watch their backs: see the Carte Calendar:

Lord Deputy & Council of Ireland to Ormond
Written from: Dublin

Date: 11 January 1665

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 34, fol(s). 14
Document type: Original [with thirteen signatures]

Report their proceedings concerning a levy, in Ireland, of a thousand seamen, to serve in the war against the Dutch.


Lord Deputy & Council of Ireland to the Lords of the Council, in England

Date: 1665

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 34, fol(s). 14
Document type: Copy [Misbound]

Have received their Lordships' letters of 23rd December, and in obedience thereto have proceeded as directed, in the impressing of seamen for his Majesty's service.…

cgs  •  Link

but what is a “math” subject?
only after 1847 math be be a mathematic subject, prior, it be
Math, one meaning.
A mowing; the action or work of mowing; that which may be or has been mowed; the portion of a crop that has been mowed. See also AFTERMATH n., DAY MATH n., LATTERMATH n., UNDERMATH n.
In R. E. Zupko Dict. Eng. Weights & Measures (1968) defined at that entry as ‘in Herefordshire equal to approx. 1 acre..or to the amount of land that a man could mow in a day’, but app. on the basis of an instance of day's math (see quot. 1820 at DAY MATH n.).[1305]
1633 BP. J. HALL Plaine Explic. Hard Texts I. 557 The first mowing thereof for the Kings use (which is wont to be sooner then the common mathe). a1656 J. USSHER Ann. World (1658) iv. 37 At the end of the spring, at the second math of grasse.
math 2:
In South Asia: a monastery, esp. one for celibate Hindu mendicants. 1828

Math 3
Mathematics (esp. as a subject of study at school or college).
Cf. MATHS n. (the usual British colloquial abbreviation).
to do the math colloq.[1947]

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Say, was any decision ever reached on Tom Edwards' actual age? I know back on the August 27, 1664 entry when he arrived one of us noted his birthyear was listed by L&M as 1645 but he seems much younger and one of the commentators under the link for him suggests he might have been as young as 13 or 14 which sounds more likely.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

So there's solid ability behind more than one member of the Pett monopoly.

One must give credit to Sam...There must be a little heartache at seeing the Pett dynasty of able, successful men and knowing there will likely not be a Pepys dynasty.

Linda F  •  Link

Was it Sam's boy's duty to wake him each day with lute playing, or to wake him and then play?
A day that begins and ends with lost music

To Martha R: re: "misterlike": I read this as an abbreviated form of "ministerlike" -- as in "ministerial" -- to indicate Pett's manner of exercising authority or his (to use the awful current word we hear too often) administrative method.

Carl in Boston  •  Link

The people on the Navy Board are all specialized, it seems.
Lord Sandwich is an able seaman and can command a fleet of ships.
Commissioner Pett can design and build ships.
Samuel Pepys can count beans and draw up the financial accounts
Lord Brunker is a smart and intelligent man who knows conic sections, but I don't see where conic sections help in running a Navy, other than he is smart.
Where the other commissioners fit in the organization, I don't know yet.
Charles II didn't have much money to run England, but he put the right men on the Navy Board, one of each kind of man.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Terry, excellent recall or research on the canary. I had forgotten the earlier entry entirely.

One small correction: we are now four years, not five, removed from January 1660/61, when the birds arrived. At that time there were at least two of them. We haven't heard the fate of the other(s) (again, as far as I can recall).

Paul Chapin  •  Link

One thing that interests me about this war is that it is being fought almost entirely at sea, aside from some skirmishes at remote colonial outposts. Neither side, it seems, has the slightest intention of invading the other's homeland.

cgs  •  Link

The Dutch be tired of land wars having lost many good men in all the 'conflags' of this century, with no material gain but it relatively easy to borrow some ships from the merchants, and up gun, the merchant did not mind, English or Dutch and others, as it could be profitable when obtaining prize vessels, they would only sink ships with lots of guns, all others be ready to be restocked up with merchadize, unlike now, very little recycling of ll that tax money.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... my poor canary bird ..."

A finch of the period, Carl Fabritius' 'The Goldfinch,' 1654, painted in Pepys' favorite genre of trompe-l'oeil; from the perspective of the piece it was made to hang high on the wall.…
(Clicking the image on the right opens an enlarged 'zoomable' window.)

Australian Susan  •  Link

"forgetting his lute"

I took this to mean the lad had not got up early to do his instrument practice. maybe that's the mother in me - to jump to this conclusion - so many mornings used to begin with "Have you done your [insert instrument name here] practice?"

Australian Susan  •  Link

Information about "The Leopard"

There is a street in South Brisbane named Leopard after a RN ship which visited Brisbane when that particular block of streets was being named. Presumably that was the 1890s one.

Pedro  •  Link

Information about “The Leopard”

There should be a link to the Encyclopedia, where more information for this ship awaits the interested annotator.

JWB  •  Link

"...but I don’t see where conic sections help in running a Navy..."

Layout lines were set in molding lofts to which the timbers of a ships frame were made to conform. Conic sections (parts of ellipses, parabolas & hyperbolas) were pieced into curved sections of the patterns to make them "fair" or free-flowing. Note that Analytical Geometry can be said to originated W/ Descartes 1637 "Discouse of Method" and that Brouncker translated him. Pett no doubt would have come at the problem by fitting curves manually to the space while Brouncker may have brought in the new conjunction of algebra and geometry.

Glyn  •  Link

Any comments on Eric Walla's question at the start of this thread?

It puzzles me as well. I assumed it meant that wherever he was that day, he was reluctant to go elsewhere - maybe he's feeling lazy or it's a bad weather day.

cgs  •  Link

my tort; Could it be that Our Lad does not want to go home as the rolling pin be awaiting and the cook be gone so it be left overs, but it does need the input from one of the 20th century sciences of reading between the lines.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Re Glyn and Eric's point

I think this comment by Sam exemplifies aspects of his character we have come to know well: he is very enthusiastic when out and about, getting the news (and the gossip) and meeting new people, convivial meals in taverns and so on, but also when he gets stuck into his work, he really gets his trotters in the trough and only the "lateness of the hour" or desire for food and sleep "to supper and to bed" get him away from the paper and ink and ledgers.

cgs  •  Link

Glad to to hear thy dulcet tones again Glyn.

Nick Burningham  •  Link

Conical sections are used to make "french curves" used in drawing the draughts or plans that give the shape of a ship.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Mr. Castle with me there to discourse over his draught of a ship he is to build for us. "

Pett later condemned this ship, the Deffiance, 'for Baddness of Timber, Baddness of Scantlings....': NWB, p. 107 (31 January 1667). (L&M note)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"iI hear that two of our ships, the Leopard and another, in the Straights, are lost by running aground; and that three more had like to have been so, but got off, whereof Captain Allen one: and that a Dutch fleete are gone thither; which if they should meet with our lame ships, God knows what would become of them. "

The ships sunk were in fact the Phoenix and Nonsuch: see and… Four ships in all were stranded near Gibraltar on the night of 1-2 December thhrough an error in navigation. They thought they were wqeell over the African coast. See Allin, i. 184-6, 218-24. (L&M note)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Tony Eldridge evidently didn't know that "the Straights" refers to the Straights of Gibraltar.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


9th January, 1664/65. To Deal.—

"10th. To Sandwich, a pretty town, about two miles from the sea. The Mayor and officers of the Customs were very diligent to serve me.

"I visited the forts in the way, and returned that night to Canterbury.

"11th January, 1665. To Rochester, when I took order to settle officers at Chatham."

Evelyn is organizing the care for wounded and sick seamen, and anticipated prisoners taken in the upcoming Second Anglo-Dutch War. He doesn't seem to be having a hard time with the cold.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Where the other commissioners fit in the organization, I don't know yet."

The New Year, a good time to review the cast of characters:

The members of the Navy Board were appointed by Charles II. By 1663 the Board was run by his brother, James, Duke of York the Lord High Admiral, and James' private secretary, Sir William Coventry MP, and Sir William Penn MP, for whom a new position had been created, making him over the fleet at sea.

Sandwich volunteered to fight in the Second Dutch War in order to earn back his place which he had let slip last year (James was threatened by his competence and popularity with the seamen; Coventry just didn't like him).

Pepys was Clerk of the Acts to the Navy Board, and not a Commissioner.

The Commissioners of the Navy Board did the admin work:

Sir George Carteret, an impeccable royalist whose service at sea had begun under Charles I, was Treasurer.

Sir John Mennes, whose naval career went back to the 1620s. He had fought with Prince Rupert -- probably against William Penn, was the Comptroller. (In January 1664 we find out he has a shaking condition, possibly Parkinson's, so I suspect Pepys does all the work, and he signs off on it.)

Sir William Batten, a professional who had served on both sides during the civil war, was the surveyor, with particular responsibility for the dockyards and the design, building and repair of ships.

Sir William Penn MP had the brief to be interested in every aspect of the Board's work, and owed his appointment to his years of experience as a naval commander. Given James' inexperienced at sea, Penn will sail with him and tell him what to do. He has gout and is away from work a lot.

Peter Pett, the master-shipwright at Chatham, had served Cromwell; but no change of government could unseat the Pett family which had a monopoly of shipbuilding in the Thames yards for several generations.

Sir William, 2nd Viscount Brouncker was appointed as a Commissioner in December 1664. He seemed interested in everything, but Pepys has not told us of a particular portfolio. Probably an extra set of eyes for the war effort.

Capt. John Taylor was appointed as a Navy Commissioner to Harwich on Nov. 1, 1664. -- Which leads me to think there were probably Commissioners at Plymouth, Portsmouth and other major Naval ports throughout the country. Pepys hasn't reported doing anything with them that I can recall.

Have I missed any one?

Bryan  •  Link

The Navy Board
Just to summarise and clarify.
From Vincenzo's (aka cgs, in Aqua Scripto, etc) entry…:
"Navy Board Officials
At the Restoration the offices of the four Principal Officers of the Navy, the Treasurer, Controller, Surveyor and Clerk of the Acts, were re-established, and three Commissioners were appointed to act with them. These officials, known both singly and collectively as Principal Officers and Commissioners of the Navy, formed the Navy Board and were jointly responsible under the direction of the Lord High Admiral for the civil administration of the Navy."

Treasurer: Sir George Carteret
Controller: Sir John Mennes
The Surveyor: Sir William Batten
Clerk of the Acts: SP esq
Commissioners: Sir William Penn, Peter Pett & Lord Berkeley

Additions in 1664:
Sir William, 2nd Viscount Brouncker Extra Commissioner of the Navy, 1664-66
Capt John Taylor was Navy Commissioner at Harwich

I don't think it's correct to say that the Commissioners did the admin work. Penn was an admiral.
Pett and Taylor were shipbuilders. Brouncker was a mathematician. Perhaps better described as technical experts.

The Duke of York, Sandwich and Coventry weren't part of the Navy Board.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Methinks Pepys is here mainly impressed with the depth of his friend's understanding of that which he himself has but has a passing acquaintance (the geometrical lines for designing ships, esp. conic sections). He likely was unaware of the formal statement of Brouncker's work (see the encyclopedia):

"[Brouncker's] mathematical work concerned in particular the calculations of the lengths of the parabola and cycloid, and the quadrature of the hyperbola, which requires approximation of the natural logarithm function by infinite series. He was the first European to solve what is now known as Pell's equation. He was the first in England to take interest in generalized continued fractions and, following the work of John Wallis, he provided development in the generalized continued fraction of pi."…

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ‘ . . that most pertinently and mister-like . . ‘

‘masterlike, adv. and adj. Now rare.
A. adv.: In the manner of a master.
. .. 1637 Earl of Monmouth tr. V. Malvezzi Romulus & Tarquin 294 He who writ of so many things, and writ so masterlike in all.

. . B. adj. Resembling or characteristic of a master; despotic, autocratic; authoritarian, magisterial. Also: exhibiting masterly ability or skill.
. . 1666 S. Pepys Diary 23 Feb. (1972) VII. 53 I begin to doubt the not of his making, it is so master-like . . ‘

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