Saturday 15 April 1665

Up, and to White Hall about several businesses, but chiefly to see the proposals of my warrants about Tangier under Creed, but to my trouble found them not finished. So back to the office, where all the morning, busy, then home to dinner, and then all the afternoon till very late at my office, and then home to supper and to bed, weary.

18 Annotations

First Reading

Australian Susan  •  Link

"....found them not finished..."

Wonder what creative excuses (creative as in "creative accounting") the clerks came up with for not having the work done? Can't claim a "Windows moment" as can be done now, but I can think of a few: Nib malfunction,("Look, see, it's all crossed over itself. Can't be expected to do quality work for a man such as yourself with such things.") quill shortages ("it's a national scandal, Mr Pepys"), sickies ( "I sent messengers to all the clerks, sir, but they all said they had the ague.")paper quality ("this paper today, sir, it just won't take the ink, just falls into pieces and then we have to start again.")
In the good old days [sic] of manual typewriters I once had a typist say she hadn't finished my typing because she'd run out of Tippex.
I also have to confess to an earlier time when I had difficulty completing a typing job as the sound of the keys was to much for my fragile, hung-over ears and brain.

Jesse  •  Link

"but to my trouble"

Since it seems Pepys's trouble more than the staff's perhaps excuses need not have been made. Off the top, I can't recall any evidence that Pepys might have the same expectations of his staff ("all the afternoon till very late at my office") as he does himself. I've one program manager who frequently puts in 60+ hour weeks but who's most grateful if I spend only a few extra hours on a weekend. Of course today it's less often when one's manager could actually step in and perform the task assigned.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Yes, Sam works huge hours himself, but we do not hear many moans or nitpicking about his own office clerks in these pages (and knowing Sam's character, this is just the sort of thing which would irriate and be likely to find its way into the diary pages.) maybe his staff *do* work hard and when he finds other Govt offices were slack, he gets out of sorts. i took "trouble"here to mean irritation, but no doubt someone with the OED or LH can enlighten us as to the particular shade of meaning here. Maybe he was just cross about the wasted journey (as in "I went to a lot of trouble") and he felt they could have sent a messenger to save him. (Today it would be "I don't think I've got your new mobile number")

CGS  •  Link

Trouble noun“
[ME. a. OF. truble, turble (12th c.), torble, tourble, troble (13th c.), F. trouble (15th c.), f. tourbler, troubler to TROUBLE.]

1. a. Disturbance of mind or feelings; worry, vexation; affliction; grief; perplexity; distress.
Now often also in lighter use, expressing any degree, however slight, of embarrassment or ‘bother’, or a condition of suffering some inconvenience or discomfort.

b. With a and pl. An instance of this; a misfortune, calamity; a distressing or vexatious circumstance, occurrence, or experience. 1515

c. transf. A thing or person that gives trouble; an occasion or cause of affliction or distress.

d. Harm, injury, offence. Obs.
e. my troubles, a dismissive exlamation: ‘don't worry about me’: ‘I don't care’. Austral. colloq.
1895 C. CROWE Austral. Slang Dict.

2. a. Public disturbance, disorder, or confusion; with a and pl. an instance of this, a disturbance, an agitation.

1651 HOBBES Leviath. II. xxx. 184 It is a hard matter to know who expecteth benefit from publique troubles.

3. Pains or exertion, esp. in accomplishing or attempting something; care, toil, labour. Phr. to put to (the) trouble, to take (the) trouble.
4. a. A disease, disorder, ailment; a morbid affection.

b. A woman's travail. (Also of an animal.) dial. or euphem.
5. In various other special applications, euphemistic, colloquial, dialectal, or vulgar. a. Unpleasant relations with the authorities, esp. such as involve arrest, summons before a magistrate, imprisonment, or punishment; e.g. to bring oneself into trouble, to get into trouble; to be in trouble, to be in gaol (slang). Also to ask for trouble: see ASK v. 16b. Similarly, to look for (or seek) trouble.

Phil  •  Link

"but chiefly to see the proposals of my warrants about Tangier under Creed"

..a warrant along the lines of a guarantee? ie Sam warrants the books are in order
..or a warrant along the lines of a writ or an order? such as the order for Povy to remit the outstanding Tangier monies.

But why the "under Creed" bit?

And how many warrants is Sam actually looking for..sounds like Sam has become pretty aggressive on this Tangier matter.

So many questions, makes it hard to wait for the next diary entry(s) expecting to find the answers.

language hat  •  Link

"i took 'trouble' here to mean irritation"

I as well.

Don McCahill  •  Link

Speaking of hours, what was the normal workday at this time? In the Industrial Revolution it was 6 12 hour days a week. But what about this period? Was it based on the sun or the clock. Sam seems to have very flexible hours, but would shops have been the same, or would they open "betimes" or late as the owner chose.

Gus Spier  •  Link

"... of my warrants about Tangier under Creed". In this sense, Sam is waiting for the formal document (the warrant) that designates him the Treasurer for Tangier. I understand that in modern times, police officers in the UK carry warrant cards that identify them as law officers.

JWB  •  Link

“….found them not finished…”

Perhaps the culprit in this case is the Sec. of State or the king himself, in that I should think his "John Hancock" required on such warrants. Sam did go in person to White Hall after all.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

warrant (n.)
Look up warrant at
c.1225, "protector, defender," from O.N.Fr. warant (O.Fr. guarant), from Frankish *warand (cf. O.H.G. weren "to authorize, warrant," Ger. gewähren "to grant"), from P.Gmc. *war- "to warn, guard, protect," perhaps from PIE base *wer- "to cover" (cf. L. vereri "to observe with awe, revere, respect, fear;" Gk. ouros "watchman," horan "to see;" Hitt. werite- "to see;" see weir). Sense evolved via notion of "permission from a superior which protects one from blame or responsibility" (c.1300) to "document conveying authority" (c.1513). A warrant office in the military is one who holds office by warrant, rather than by commission.…

But why the “under Creed” bit?

Since 1662 Creed has been secretary of the Tangier Committee; I presume authorization would need at least Creed's hand. This must explain why SP spent yesterday with Creed, presumably conferring with him about the transfer of the Tangier treasurer's office: Pepys will now have, like Creed has had for fower years, a paying share in the Tangier enterprise.

cgs  •  Link

Work by the hour at this time was not in vogue.
You were engaged for the duration be it the quarter [3 mths]of a year, for life , or annually. You were required to get a task done, not the number of hours.
It was not unlike a lion catching his daily dose of calories, if it took 2 days or one hour, so be it, then you hunted again when hungry.
Farmers used to work this way, feed the live stock first then relax. We have forgotten how to relax as we need more than required.
I was lucky , I was salaried, I was given an expected date for the task to be accomplished, and it was up to me to how I would spend the time.
Maids had to be on call 24/7, but it does mean that they were made to dust the window, if all the chores were done. Thereby some could finish tasks quickly and others were slower, so each had differing relax times.
working by a stopwatch is method of maximizing the leaders income.

Mary  •  Link

Sam's flexible hours.

In some ways Pepys could be regarded as a significantly self-employed person. He draws a basic salary from the Navy Office and has entered into an agreement with Povy for half the Treasurer's fee, but makes his *real* money from all the other arrangements that he makes on his own behalf. Both kinds of work can overlap and intertwine in any one day. The long days that he works in the office are what he deems necessary to getting the job done, but also serve to reinforce his position as an important figure whose knowledge and influence may well be worth private payment. The busier he is, the more opportunities of profit are likely to come his way.

I doubt whether the idea of 'hours,' whether flexible or fixed, ever occupied his thoughts. If there was work that he judged it useful or profitable to do, then he did it.

Jesse  •  Link

"till very late at my office"

I think there's an ethical aspect to his working late. Part of an idle hands outlook. Little in 'real money' seems to come in at those hours and 'useful' can be rather relative.

Above, I also took trouble to mean irritation - though not with his clerks.

cgs  •  Link

"...but to my trouble[distress/vexation] found them not finished...."
He be [ bludy upset, not bludy dun yet] wot dothe it take to get things dun around 'ere?
Oh! well, no ink for the damn quills again????
Same old story, help not helping

cgs  •  Link

At this time there was a law on the books, that a day worker had to have his hour for dinner so that he could drink his lunch too.

Australian Susan  •  Link

It was only with the demands of the factory system that work was regularised and became subject to rigid hours, factory bells and time-keeping.

I think I would class how Sam works in todays terms as being a self-employed Sole Trader, with a permanent part-time contract (his Navy position), which agrees with what Mary has annotated.

language hat  •  Link

"In some ways Pepys could be regarded as a significantly self-employed person."

That was an excellent and enlightening paragraph, Mary. Thanks.

Cactus Wren  •  Link

Indeed -- thanks to both Mary and Australian Susan. Certainly there seems to be no expectation that Sam should show up at work by a certain hour every morning. (Nor, to his regret I'm sure if he'd ever entertained such a notion, that he should be entitled to *leave* work by a certain hour in the evening.)

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