Wednesday 18 January 1664/65

Up and by and by to my bookseller’s, and there did give thorough direction for the new binding of a great many of my old books, to make my whole study of the same binding, within very few. Thence to my Lady Sandwich’s, who sent for me this morning. Dined with her, and it was to get a letter of hers conveyed by a safe hand to my Lord’s owne hand at Portsmouth, which I did undertake. Here my Lady did begin to talk of what she had heard concerning Creed, of his being suspected to be a fanatique and a false fellow. I told her I thought he was as shrewd and cunning a man as any in England, and one that I would feare first should outwit me in any thing. To which she readily concurred. Thence to Mr. Povy’s by agreement, and there with Mr. Sherwin, Auditor Beale, and Creed and I hard at it very late about Mr. Povy’s accounts, but such accounts I never did see, or hope again to see in my days. At night, late, they gone, I did get him to put out of this account our sums that are in posse [?? D.W.] only yet, which he approved of when told, but would never have stayed it if I had been gone. Thence at 9 at night home, and so to supper vexed and my head akeing and to bed.

39 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

in pos·se (n ps)
adv. & adj.
In potential but not in actuality.
[Medieval Latin : Latin in, in + Latin posse, to be able.]

I.e. Sums we wish we had?

Patricia  •  Link

Rebinding his old books so the binding matches his newer ones? What extravagance! And it must have made it difficult to find a particular volume among its identical fellows on the shelf, by candlelight, unless he also shelved them in alphabetical order.

Carl in Boston  •  Link

Patricia, any collector of incunabula and old books in rare and precious bindings knows his books by sniff and by feel. He can pick them out by moonlight, and even in the dark. I have a book of floral prints from the 1920s that I bought just for the dynamite binding job. I haven't seen it in several years, but I know where it is and could go to it in the dark. Book collecting is not something you'd kinda like to do, it's something you have to do. Sam would know. Book collecting is a calling.

Dave  •  Link

Sam has no difficulty selling out Creed to My Lady, without any knowledge whether the accusation is true or not.

Does he have any actual friends?

Jesse  •  Link

"... should outwit me in any thing. To which she readily concurred."

Hopefully not too readily :)

I wonder how Pepys did shelve his books? Alphabetical probably makes sense if the size of his collection (thus far) is not too large. Even though the bindings match I assume the sizes might vary somewhat, what with different folio sizes. Shelving still an issue today for the library at home:…

Margaret  •  Link

I think it was common to buy books unbound--that way you could choose your binding. Pepys' desire to have most of his books with the same binding would not have been unusual in his day.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"...Book collecting is a calling..."
Oh, yes! That rang true for me!I am trying to work out how to fit more bookcases in at the moment and have been known to buy books just because I felt sorry for them. Having your books bound in matching bindings went on at least until the 19th century for the aristocracy who had the books stamped with their coat of arms on the cover. And we can still see all Sam's wonderful matching bindings in his library bookcases.

cgs  •  Link

OED Posse:
< classical Latin posse to be able, to be possible, to have power, to avail, also as noun, power, ability, in post-classical Latin also force, body of men ( from 13th cent. in British sources), (in scholastic terminology) potentiality, capability of being < potis having the power, able (< the same Indo-European base as Gothic -fa{th}s (in bruhfa{th}s bridegroom: see BRIDE n.1) + esse to be (see ESSE n.), after collocations such as potis est he is able.
The stem pot- of the perfect and of the present participle of the Latin verb is of separate origin, cognate with Oscan pútíad, pútíans (equivalent to classical Latin possit, possint, 3rd singular and plural subjunctive of posse); in post-classical Latin (Vetus Latina) a present stem was formed analogically on this, giving e.g. infinitive potere.]

The fact or state of being possible; possibility, potentiality (opposed to esse). Chiefly (and slightly earlier) in IN POSSE adv. Cf. ESSE n. 2a.

a1592 R. GREENE Mamillia (1593) II. sig. H4v, She which is vicious in her youth may be vertuous in her age: I graunt indeede it may be, but it is hard to bring the posse into esse.

1659 R. BAXTER Key for Catholicks I. xxxix. 282 If the question [of sin] be only of the posse, and not of the act.

cgs  •  Link

Pepys Library, sneak preview:…

then take a punt and walk around town .
more if thy google.
then between pages 348/9 in Claire Tomalins excellent book Samuel Pepys The Unequalled self

Michael Robinson  •  Link

I think it was common to buy books unbound

This is the traditional opinion, stated almost en passent by Michael Sadlier in “The Evolution of Publisher’s Binding Styles” (1930). However Stuart Bennet’s recent “Trade Bookbinding in the British Isles 1660 – 1800” British Library / Oak Knoll, 2004 is the first work to comprehensively review the evidence and arrives at the opposite conclusion; most works in the diary period and later were purchased bound. Bennett’s work has been uniformly well reviewed by all. For example see Michal Ryan’s review for the ALA.…

Michael Robinson  •  Link

I wonder how Pepys did shelve his books? - spoiler

It is unknown how SP’s books were stored and/or displayed prior to the acquisition of the book-cases later next year. On July 17th. 1666 SP notes ‘they now growing numerous; and lying one upon another on my chairs, I loose the use, to avoid the trouble of removing them when I would open a book.”

see prior note:-…

The final disposition, c. 1690-1703, was in size order with blocks cut to make the tops level; this arrangement is preserved today.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Pepys’ desire to have most of his books with the same binding would not have been unusual in his day.

Nor much later. Interest in book bindings is a relatively recent phenomena, the first attempt at a serious study being W.H. James Weale, 'Bookbindings and Rubbings of Bindings in the National Art Library, South Kensington Museum' London: 1898, 1894 (2 vols.) and most works written prior to WWII have to be read with care; interest in 'original condition' and what can be learned from the book as a physical object begins in the second quarter of the C 20th., and the now booming study of print as a social and cultural force dates only from Lucien Febvre and Henri-Jean Martin, 'L'apparition du livre' Paris: 1958.

Mary  •  Link

Impressively bound books

Some 20 years ago I came across a 'Wanted' advertisement in a London newspaper for '7 yards of leather-bound books in good condition, preferably with matched bindings'. Books can furnish a room in more ways than one.

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

Does he have any actual friends?

Dave, I'm sure Sam was a popular, intelligent and witty companion with a lively curiosity which made him attractive to a large number of people - not least women. The frequent references to merry company bear this out.
But, like most ambitious men, he is also calculating, avaricious and often scared of putting a foot wrong either with his superiors or with God. His diary concentrates on this private side which is what makes him so interesting to us.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... I told her I thought he [Creed] was as shrewd and cunning a man as any in England, and one that I would feare first should outwit me in any thing. ..."

President [Nixon]: One of the rules of diplomacy is to do unto others as they do unto you. The last time I said that, Dr. Kissinger said, "Plus ten percent."


gunwale  •  Link


" make my whole study of the same binding, within very few..."

See H.M. Nixon's account of the binding in the forthcomming catalogue of the PL.
The books would now presumably be bound in what Pepys has previously called his "common binding".
The bookseller was Joseph Kirton of St Paul's Churchyard.

Latham and Matthews PD. Volume VI* 1665.
London: G.Bell and Sons Ltd. May 1974.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... forthcoming catalogue of the PL ..."

Catalogue of the Pepys Library at Magdalene College, Cambridge, VI, Bindings, Compiled by Howard M. Nixon, Brewer/Boydell, 1970. 52 plates.

is the standard work but ‘out of print’; copies are probably available through , or similar.…

Carl in Boston  •  Link

Forthcoming catalogue of the PL
Forthcoming indeed. The price was $180, which is preposterous and impossible. Yeth, thath ith prepotherouth and impothible.
My price point is $10. I am now reading "Samuel Pepys and the Royal Navy" by J. R. Tanner in an octavo buckram orange binding, a slim volume perfect for bedtime reading. It is a collection of lectures given at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1919 and reprinted in 1971. I found it in Boston 20 years ago for $10 or so.

language hat  •  Link

"most works in the diary period and later were purchased bound."

Thanks very much for that enlightening comment! I wasn't able to get to the ALA link until I realized that your URL was truncated; anyone else interested should replace the final "/bennetrevi" by "/bennetreview.cfm" and all will be well. It's well worth reading.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Well, Creed was never considered by Sam as anything like a close friend, though he's fascinated by him and his keen intellect. Their relationship is more one of polite, even admiring rivals, carefully sizing each other up and nervously watching each other's progress on the career ladder. I suspect Sam fears Creed is the shrewder, more able man, only lacking his family connection to Sandwich to take the lead from him. Creed for his part seems to keep a close eye on Sam, perhaps hopeful of a fortunate stumble in the future? I believe he desperately wants the degree of security Sam has in an official government position.

I wonder still why Povy simply didn't turn to Creed or another junior but able man like him first before trying to handle the Tangier accounts on his own. Possibly Lord Sandwich himself might rate Sam's scorn were he to try and deal with the accounts unhelped by his usual team of Creed, Howe, Pepys, and others.

Carl in Boston  •  Link

Hey, everybody, looka here…

This was served up by cgs. I finally understood that this is the cyber portal to Magdalen College, to the very book cases of Samuel Pepys. I have it book marked for frequent visiting. If you click on a picture below, you get a big picture. Look at all the great big book cases built by dockyard joiners in "a secret project for the government".

Pedro  •  Link

And John Evelyn on this day...

18: At the R: Society came in severall schemes & observations about the Comet: Mr. Hooke produc’d an Experiment of fire, shewing that the aire was but a certainly disolving menstrue:

laura k  •  Link

books with matching binding

Apologies in advance for the topical/off-topic annot, but hopefully you'll agree it's pertinent.

I've been re-watching the British comedy series "Black Books," starring and co-written by Irish comic actor Dylan Moran. Moran plays Bernard Black, a misanthrope who owns a small bookstore.


Customer: "Excuse me, those books over there....?"

Bernard: "Ah, yes, Dickens. The Collected Works of Charles Dickens."

Customer: "Are they real leather?"

Bernard: "They're real Dickens."

Customer: "I have to know if they're real leather, because they have to go with a sofa. I'll give you 200 pounds for them."

Bernard: "Are they leather-bound pounds? Because I need leather-bound pounds to go with my wallet. Next!"

Carl in Boston  •  Link

On the collected works of Dickens, which a bookseller refused to sell to an unworthy recipient. Absolutely right. One must be worthy to have these things, as they are a trust. This may seem goofy, but it's true and on the topic of Pepys and book collecting too. I have a few things of Dickens, a reissue of his Pickwick Papers in the original green paper booklets, certainly not leather bound. I also have an original copy of John Forster's will mentioning how he passes on Charles Dicken's pocket watch (they were friends). Samuel Pepys pulled together 3000 volumes of Naval History, saw a library building built for his collection, book cases made to protect the books, and the whole was used to make the Great Lectures of 1919 on Samuel Pepys and The Royal Navy. This is not exactly a spoiler, because Samuel Pepys finished his library years after the diary ended. It's much like the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, all the huge matters take place after they finish their diaries because both Great Men are too busy to write in a diary.

Australian Susan  •  Link

I recommend Black Books too: Bernard and Manny's duologues are wonderful viewing and Bernard's put downs of customers are straight from the Basil Fawlty Charm School. (but always in the interest of the books - see Laura's example above.)

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"... Samuel Pepys pulled together 3,000 volumes of Naval History..."

Carl, the three thousand vols of Pepys library are about a great deal more than Naval History - the Naval manuscripts and books form but one small part. Since its over your $10 per volume upper limit you could consult the The Boston Public Library, the Central Branch, has a complete set of all seven vols of the Pepys Library Catalogue for reading on site only (printed books, Ballads, Prints and Drawings, Music, Maps Calligraphy, Manuscripts medieval and modern and not least Bindings): Collection Brown, Call #Z792.

Vol 7 (in 2 vols) contains a facsimile of the various versions of Pepys own manuscript catalogs, including his own analysis by subject.

"... saw a library building built for his collection ..."

"This may have been specifically envisaged for library use: it seems that the books bequeathed by the then Master, Prof. James Duport, at his death in 1679 were kept there until 1834. He had contributed substantially to the cost of the building.

Samuel Pepys made three subscriptions to the building fund, although there is no formal evidence of his intention to bequeath his Library to the College, and of his hope to have it placed in 'the new building', until his will, dated 1703, just before his death."…

rob  •  Link

books with matching binding

The other day I read a biography on Ian Fleming writer of the James Bond novels.

Ian Fleming was a book collector specialising in first prints of books that, in their own field, were the most important book ever published. This could cover any field of human interest and any time in history. Books on the vascular system, mining, volcanoes or cooking were sitting next to each other on the shelves of his bookcase.

Each book was rebound in black leather bearing the coat of arms of the Fleming family and the title.

Must have been a wonderful sight....

Carl in Boston  •  Link

On the subject of Pepys' catalog at the Boston Public Library
I have a card for the library and look forward to looking at the Pepys catalog.
I once handled Shakespeare's Folio One at the Widener Library at Harvard. I appeared in white gloves and asked for Folio Three. They said why not Folio One? Because all I needed to see was in #3. Hang it all, no one looks at these things, you shall have No 1. So I looked at Folio One, which was my well laid plan. I hope to find some genuine Pepsyian things at the Boston BPL. Perhaps I shall find Dr Robinson, I presume ?
This may have been a little off the topic of Pepys, as commonly understood, but this is offered up in a Pepysian sense, and when given a proper Pepysian construction, I hope will not fail to meet with approbation.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Ian Fleming's library
rob, thanks for that interesting bit of history. Michael Robinson or some other book expert will have to confirm this, but it is my understanding that a substantial part of the value of first editions to collectors is that they be in their original binding. If Fleming had them rebound, he paid a heavy price for his vanity or his aesthetic sensibility.
(Even more off topic than the previous post, but that just means that the OT police will have to go through me to get to Carl. I am Spartacus.)

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Ian Fleming’s library

Paul Chapin is quite correct in saying "a substantial part of the value of first editions to collectors is that they be in their original binding." There are exceptions, principally significant provenance and/or significant inscriptions. For fear that a squad of the Dutch 'OT' SBS will leap through my study windows and conduct an 'extraordinary rendition' holding me prisoner, like Tony Last in a 'Handful of Dust' but with L&M rather than a set of Dickens, I am happy to answer privately at greater length anyone who is interested.

rob  •  Link

"Michael Robinson or some other book expert will have to confirm this, but it is my understanding that a substantial part of the value of first editions to collectors is that they be in their original binding. If Fleming had them rebound, he paid a heavy price for his vanity or his aesthetic sensibility."

Of course the price of any book, be it first edition or not is depending on the binding. I like my Pepys in the big blue Bell Edition with the golden anchors...

As for Fleming's vanity/aesthetic sensibility, you are talking about the man who had cigarettes exclusively made for himself with three golden bands on them.

Nevertheless, interesting bloke.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Ian Fleming’s library

"What interested him [Fleming] was how things worked. He had shown this predilection when, in 1936, he asked the bookseller Percy Muir to start collecting for him first editions of “books that had started something”. That something might be as basic as the zip fastener or miner’s lamp.

He gave Muir £250 to do it – not much even by 1930s standards. Muir entered into the spirit of things. For £4 he bought Marie Curie’s doctoral thesis on the isolation of radium, Married Love by Marie Stopes for 15 shillings, the first rules of ping pong for free. Ian stored the books in posh buckram boxes embossed with the Fleming crest, but he never read them. He used to say airily after the war that the collection was worth £100,000; it was sold after he died to the University of Indiana."

For Flemings Manuscripts and library:-…

Fleming as a book collector:-

"He sought out the original contributions of scientists whose work was responsible for the great discoveries, inventions, and theories of the 19th century. He had all his purchases specially encased in black buckram fleece-lined boxes with an image of his bookplate on the cover."…

Second Reading

Marquess  •  Link

A nice description of Creed methought, no doubt cunningness and shrewdness were necessary commodities if one didn't have the family connexions. In addition there would have been little honesty amongst Creed's so called betters.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"At night, late, they gone, I did get him to put out of this account our sums that are in posse [?? D.W.] only yet, which he approved of when told, but would never have stayed it if I had been gone."

One way to conquer fear is to take care of business. Pepys works later than everyone else so he gets Povy alone, reminds him of these transactions, and clears them off the books. That way Creed and the Tangiers Commissioners will have no need to investigate them because they are settled, and not outstanding.

As I said yesterday, I think Pepys is wary of Creed finding out something untoward, so he can be manipulated for years.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Robert Hooke had been short of funds up until now. But in 1665 he secured another appointment, that of Professor of Geometry at Gresham College. This gave him rooms at the College, required him to give one lecture each week in term time in Latin, and then repeated in English. He was required to be unmarried, but was allowed a housekeeper.

more from…

and from WIKIPEDIA I learned that:
... on 11 January 1665 Robert Hooke was named Curator by Office for life with an additional salary of £30 to Cutler's annuity. His role at the Royal Society was to demonstrate experiments from his own methods or at the suggestion of members.

Among his earliest demonstrations were discussions of the nature of air, the implosion of glass bubbles which had been sealed with comprehensive hot air, and demonstrating that the Pabulum vitae and flammae were one and the same.

I think this is what Evelyn was referring to???

Terry Foreman  •  Link

This was not "Among his earliest demonstrations": "On 5 November 1661, Sir Robert Moray proposed that a Curator be appointed to furnish the society with Experiments, and this was unanimously passed with Hooke being named. His appointment was made on 12 November, with thanks recorded to Dr. Boyle for releasing him to the Society's employment."

11 January 1665 Robert Hooke became a salaried employee of the Royal Society rather than an employee of Dr. Robert Boyle, some of whose responsibilities were to act as the Curator of the Society.

Evelyn wrote "Mr. Hooke produc’d an Experiment of fire, shewing that the aire was but a certainly disolving menstrue ['The menstrual cycle; menses.'… ']

I have been unable to find out what the "Experiment of fire" was.
See Thomas Birch, The History of the Royal Society of London for Improving of ..., Volume 2…

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

I think a bit too much has been mad of Creed's alleged "lack of family connections".

Like the senior branches of the Pepyses, the Creeds were landowners, and therefore mixed with the other members of the landowning classes. In the area around Northamptonshire area, this would have included various branches of the Mountague family. That, and Creed's involvement with with the Protectorate administration, (Creed seems to have been a little older than Pepys), is likely to be how Creed came to Sandwich's attention to begin with.

However, it seems that the Creed family was more fervently Puritan than the Mountagues and Pepyses, and had connections to the regicide Maj. Gen. Harrison. Hence their position might have been somewhat more precarious after the restoration. Therefore John Creed clung to Sandwich like a lifeline, and Sandwich tolerated it and made use of him. There was a broad class solidarity cemented, I imagine, by too many dark secrets.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: "At night, late, they gone, I did get him to put out of this account our sums that are in posse [?? D.W.] only yet, which he approved of when told, but would never have stayed it if I had been gone."

‘in posse, adv. < post-classical Latin . . . . potentially.
. . 1691 W. Wollaston Design Part of Bk. Ecclesiastes 94 Babes from the breast are torn, nay from the womb, And Life in posse killed .
. . 1983 P. O'Brian Treason's Harbour ii. 57 In effect the absolute Roman emperor, even Marcus Aurelius, was a tyrant, if only in posse.’


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