Monday 7 August 1665

Up, and with great pleasure looking over my wife’s pictures, and then to see my Lady Pen, whom I have not seen since her coming hither, and after being a little merry with her, she went forth and I staid there talking with Mrs. Pegg and looking over her pictures, and commended them; but, Lord! so far short of my wife’s, as no comparison. Thence to my wife, and there spent, talking, till noon, when by appointment Mr. Andrews come out of the country to speake with me about their Tangier business, and so having done with him and dined, I home by water, where by appointment I met Dr. Twisden, Mr. Povy, Mr. Lawson, and Stockdale about settling their business of money; but such confusion I never met with, nor could anything be agreed on, but parted like a company of fools, I vexed to lose so much time and pains to no purpose.

They gone, comes Rayner, the boatmaker, about some business, and brings a piece of plate with him, which I refused to take of him, thinking indeed that the poor man hath no reason nor encouragement from our dealings with him to give any of us any presents. He gone, there comes Luellin, about Mr. Deering’s business of planke, to have the contract perfected, and offers me twenty pieces in gold, as Deering had done some time since himself, but I both then and now refused it, resolving not to be bribed to dispatch business, but will have it done however out of hand forthwith.

So he gone, I to supper and to bed.

39 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Sam clearly has his own structure of what is right and honest in the job. Of course knowing if the fellow offering the 'gift' can be trusted to keep mum in future is an important consideration.


Will an original "Elisabeth Pepys" ever surface?

Lance Coon  •  Link

And what, pray tell, would constitute, in the London society of the times, "being a little merry" with Lady Pen? Mildly flirtatious banter? A few slighly risque jokes? Certainly not a bit of the old slap and tickle?

Ralph Berry  •  Link

Turning down two offers to enhance his wealth in one day! I wonder if Sam now has a slight conscience about that whipping he ordered a couple of days ago, or does he just pick up the bribes after he has ordered the goods in case he gets a better offer in the meantime?

CGS  •  Link

Merry is not defining a state or a noun,
thus it leaves it up to the reader's or male's experience of being left alone with an enchanting lady and his sense of manners, and if one follows the norm of some gentleman then.

"...being a little merry with her [ Lady Pen,],..."
little merry

a meaning OED
3. Used to convey an implication of endearment or depreciation, or of tender feeling on the part of the speaker. Also coupled with an epithet expressing such feelings, e.g. pretty, sweet little.

or II. Opposed to much.
Merry as opposed being glum

1. a. Of an occupation, event, state, or condition: causing pleasure or happiness; pleasing, delightful. Obs.
left many shades out,so many to enjoy.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

I continue to have a better opinion of Sam than many of my fellow annotators appear to, and today's entry shows one of the reasons why. Sam makes a clear distinction between "getting something", that is, a commission, from a deal that is good for the government and that he works to bring about, versus a bribe to do something that he either disapproves of or would do anyway in the normal course of business. In the context of his times, that seems to me perfectly honorable behavior.

Ruben  •  Link

we are always coming back to the same problem: annotators that forget that the diary is more than 300 years old. Values and mores were different! It is anachronistic to judge Samuel's actions by our mores. In Pepys days to get "a position" was valued for the money you could get from it, not from the salary, mind you. There are many references to this in the Diary itself. Many times the King himself received a commision when naming someone for a "position" or a title.
Pepys never accepted a transaction where he knew "the King" was losing just because he, Samuel, got something of it. On the contrary: first came the King's interest. This is the biggest change he made to the English Navy and for this reason he was respected in his own time. This working machine is the man behind the building of the fleet that conquered half the world. He could have been the richest man in England, if he was open to bribery. But then the English fleet would not have become the best in the world with professionaly trained officers,standard equipment based on the best science demonstrations of his day, sea worthy ships.
When he retired he did not retire to a palace or some fancy house, but to a room in Hewer's house.
He left to the Public his beloved library, something that years ago would have been called altruism, but surely today you will find someone grousing it was done for notoriety.

GrahamT  •  Link

Hear, hear, Paul Chapin and Ruben. Sam not only lives according to the mores of his time, but interpretes them more humanely than many of his peers. Whether it be refusing to take a gift when he knows he can't do a favour in return, or "only" having men flogged when they could be hanged or pressed, he usually errs on the side of what we like to call morality.
As for him being a lecherous young goat taking advantage of the hired help, I refer you, M'lud, to the case of Clinton vs Lewinsky. Wrong maybe, but neither unique nor surprising at any time in history.

Mary  •  Link

"resolving not to be bribed to dispatch business..."

I'm in agreement with Paul, Ruben and GrahamT. In this particular case, Pepys indicates that he will not be bribed up front to hasten on or arrange a piece of business. If, however, he completes a contract to the King's and the navy's advantage, we may conclude that he is not averse to accepting his 'commission' afterwards.

Bryan M  •  Link

Hey, hold that band wagon. I want to jump on too.

To be sure Sam wasn’t an angel but as Ruben points out by the standards of his times he wasn’t so bad. What I find really fascinating is that we see Sam changing over the years as he rises. We observe the process of power corrupting some one (else). While Sam could have been worse, on the other hand, he is more at ease with his opportunism than a couple of years ago.

JWB  •  Link

Stop that bandwagon in the name of the Law!

Just yesterday I was reading:
"What they had most in common was a hatred of moral relativism," Mr. Lebedoff writes of his subjects(Orwell & Waugh). "They both believed that morality is absolute, though they defined and applied it differently. But each believed with all his heart, brain, and soul that there were such things as moral right and moral wrong, and that these were not subject to changes in fashion. Moral relativism was, in fact, the gravest of sins."
From MICHAEL DIRDA"s review
(August 7, 2008; Page A11 Wall Street Journal,)
of "The Same Man"
By David Lebedoff

Chris Faulkner  •  Link

About Bribes and Commission: Sam makes his living from the margins he can get from Navy transactions, most of which he is expected to pay for out of his own pocket, there were no 'Company Cheques' in thos days. Remember Charles the first invented 'Baronettes' like Lady Thatcher, as a way of raising money, in those days they were for sale!! A far cry from todays 'money for honours'. Sam takes money when he 'will save the King money' and everyone knows about it. That's the way things worked. There is a note in the Diary about a Supplier to the Navy who goes bankrupt waiting to be paid for goods supplied. Saudia Arabia (allegedly) still works on the same basis. Government Funds are the same as the Kings personal funds, and everyone else works the same way.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Customs (mores) change and vary

The argument about it on this site since 2003/1660 illustrates the case, no matter what the "moral absolutists" and "anti-historicists" are afraid of. In the regular course of business as a civil servant, Pepys does things -- regarded as accepted and institutional S.O.P. by all those he deals with -- that would be regarded as unacceptable or illegal practices today (in London: when in Rome...).

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"In the regular course of business as a civil servant, Pepys does things — regarded as accepted and institutional S.O.P. by all those he deals with — that would be regarded as unacceptable or illegal practices today (in London: when in Rome…)."

While I agree...And it must be noted Sam has no protection against unemployment due to sudden dismissal or change of regime, could be sent to the Tower on a (relative, it's not quite Henry VIII's era) whim, and has no pension and excepting Brampton, no private security for old age...It is also true that if caught and if the King and government were embarassed by public outcry (which would surely come) Sam would face prosecution. That is why he is careful in his shadier dealings and why he averts eyes when emptying envelopes or gloves full of coin. It is illegal and he could face punishment. What passes for acceptable behavior among courtiers and "insiders", say lobbyists and government officials today, is not necessarily legal behavior or without risk.

That said, again Sam is probably among the least venal officials and least deserving to be caught. But the risk is there.

Pedro  •  Link

And the whereabouts of the Fleet...

"...This evening about 7 o'clock I came to anchor in Bressay Sound in Shetland, and all the fleet with me (except Sir Thomas Teddiman's part at Bergen).

At noon we had weathered Noss Island and were standing in for Bressay Sound, when we had a most exact observation of our latitude, in several ways, all agreeing it to be 60 deg 3 mins."

(The Journal of Edward Montagu edited by Anderson)

Ruben  •  Link

Come on, Robert!
EVERBODY was doing that and NO ONE cared. Only when for a political reason or just envy someone wanted to hurt you they began to serch or invent reasons, shady business, treason and the like. In a few years, our Sam will be accused of the horrible crime of being a Jacobite. That was a crime!...but Nothing happened, not that he was not a Jacobite (was he?) but because he had enough influence left to open the Tower's door and go back home. A bribe was not enough to put him in jail, and for that reason his enemies did not care to accuse him of any comission taking or other economical crime. It just did not matter.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Meanwhile, in Seething Lane SP writes for the Carte collection...

Samuel Pepys to Sandwich
Written from: Navy Office

Date: 7 August 1665

States the happy circumstances attendant on the marriage of Lady Jemima Montagu with Mr Carteret as being "the only occurrence ... I ever met with, begun, proceeded on and finished with the same uninterrupted excess of satisfaction to all parties". Reports his having sent a ship of 36 guns, to fetch Lord Hinchinbrooke from Calais, who proceeded to join the bridal party at Scots Hall. Adds his advice to Lord Sandwich "to quicken the settlement of the money matters on both sides". Mentions that "the Plague is now, more or less, got into most corners of the Kingdom". ...…

Cum salis grano  •  Link

I like all of the above.

My 2 farthings worth
Incomes , what be that, Everyone lives off others, Everyone lives by needing calories,the question is how to get those calories, by preaching, by exchanging gunfire for a ships hold, getting people to hand over coin so that the leader can eat well, take the profits of the mail service to keep a mistress in jewels, come up with an idea and get it registered, so that no one else can use it to make monies.
Enclose the commons so that only the Laud [sic] can feed his livestock freely.
Get a commission for getting the best price for cheese to the sailors,along with all the different ways as seen at the 'Old Bailie'.
This period of time is the transition from absolute rule via chaos to modern version of survival of the fittest.
The nature of man has not changed i.e. that he be on top of the heap [see genesis for freedom and dominion] , just the method of how he does it has changed.

tyndale  •  Link

The Intelligencer, leaving out items that appeared in the last Newes:

Nottingham, August 2 - Royal highnesses came here yesterday, were entertained by the local notables, and departed today; this area free from plague and from other seasonal sickness.

Isle of Wight, August 1 - The king landed yesterday, attended by Monmouth, Arlington and others; he inspected the military arrangements here.

London, Aug 4 - Manifesto of the Dutch prisoners (mentioned last week) is included. "We Subjects of the High and Mighty the States of the United Provinces... do declare... that we are used with great humanity and Christinan kindness in every respect, and that there are none of us put into Irons, or evilly entreated by the Marshall or his Deputies..." Officers receive 12 p. a day to by victuals, common soldiers get 5 p. Some of the food they can buy: "Beef ready boyled, with Pottage thereto made with Oatmeal and herbs for p pence the pound weight... Chesire Cheese, which is accompted the best in England 4 pence per pound, Suffolk Cheese 3 pence per pound." They can walk freely in the town, the officers are put up well and visited by important people.

More London news: 1472 dead in the out-parishes; 2010 deat of the plague last week, but only 111 within the walls; no news of the fleet.

Edinburg, July 29 - Rumored fleet has not been seen; some Dutch capers burned houses on the shore; Convention of the Estates to be opened on August 2.

Dublin, July 29 - Faith-healer Valentine Greatrakes arrived here last Tuesday, men divided in their opinion about his powers; shooting heard from Kinsale; building plague stations [as we would now call them] where people arriving by sea will have to remain 20 days; Archbishop of Dublin is made Lord Chancellor.

Vienna, July 22 - Some Turks have appeared near "Tzackatburn," and despite the current peace there was a scuffle between them and General Serini's men.

Hamburgh, July 29 - Forces being raised for the Bishop of Munster; news of troubles in Constantinople over taxation, so the imperial ambassador might be received in Adrianople instead; "discourse also of fresh Tumults in Babilonia."

Venice, July 24 - The Turks "fail of the Recruits they expected in Candia" (the fortress on Crete they have been besieging since 1648!), they are also troubled with plague; Venetian squadron reportedly scattered a Turkish merchant fleet going between Egypt and Constantinople.

Bruxelles, August 8 - The usual rumors about the Dutch fleet and De Ruyter; the official fleet won't sail for ten days; concerns about the Bishop of Munster; Elector Palatine and the Elector of Mainz seem headed for war, despite emperor's attempts to intervene.

Newark, July 31 - A man died in the house of the Deputy Post Master, but it turns out not due to any contagious disease.

Rotterdam, August 10 - Bishop of Munster's force still increasing; disputes over choosing a general and paying the army; "Our Great Ship is afloat, but will scarce be gotten to sea this Bout," De Wit "governs all" and has a rather impressive retinue following him about, making the naval officers jealous.

Amsterdam, August 10 - Everyone happy that De Ruyter has returned, "and brought along with him 5 English Prizes, three of which are laden with Sugar, and the other two, empty," but his ships are in bad condition; anxieties about the East India fleet at Bergen.

Hague, August 11 - Same feelings about De Ruyter as above; "It was well for Tromp that he had his Patent for the Flag before De Ruyter returned;" many unhappy with Tromp's elevation to this office; "OUr Fleet is like St. George, alwayes in the Saddle, and never goes forward;" failure to capture the Island of Formosa ("on the backside of China"); Dutch also driven out of Macasser, Ternate and Amboyna by the native, and this news is made more reliable by the fact that it comes from the General of the Jesuits at Rome.

Salisbury, August 3 - King arrived yesterday, and participated in the Solemn Fast; asked the mayor for a list of the persons "immediately and necessarily relating to the Court" so that he clear out "superflous person."

CGS  •  Link

Thanks Tydndale for the newes that the sippers of caffeine be reading.
the non sandwiche be nice at p pence per lb.
At a bob [12d] a day, that be 18 pounds 10 shilling for the year.
Not bad, Sam kept a wife and maid on 25 pounds a year.
great data.

I as squaddie got only 48 d a day in 1940's just to show the rate of inflation from 1660's to 1940's and now Mamma mea

CGS  •  Link

prisoner pay 1940's
"....In 1947, Heinz was 26 and being held captive at a camp in Highfield, Southampton, Hampshire, where he was forced to build pre-fabricated houses for I penny-halfpenny (three halfpence)...."…

Pedro  •  Link

“…and this news is made more reliable by the fact that it comes from the General of the Jesuits at Rome.”

Everyone knows that the General does not tell porkies, it is against his religion.

Coxinga invaded and conquered Formosa in 1661 when many of the indigenous population made common cause against the Dutch, but driven out of Macasser, Ternate and Amboyna?

Terry Foreman  •  Link

John Evelyn's Diary (in lieu of Dirk)

I returned home, calling at Woo[d]cot, & Durdens by the way: where I [found] Dr. Wilkins, Sir William Pettit, & Mr. Hooke contriving Charriots, new rigges for ships, a Wheele for one to run races in, & other mechanical inventions, & perhaps three such persons together were not to be found else where in Europ[e], for parts & ingenuity:

Pedro  •  Link

“Faith-healer Valentine Greatrakes arrived here last Tuesday”

Also known as 'Greatorex', and from Andrew Boniface’s annotation a mention of Ralph…

“At the same time as the Anglo-Irishman, Valentine GREATRAKES was in London, Ralph Greatorex lived in St. Martin’s Lane and had a shop in the Strand. They may well have been distant relatives…”…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"It just did not matter."

It did matter if you weren't wealthy enough, connected, or a member in good standing of the club. And it's not that much different today, "Everybody's doing it" still being a fine excuse. However, Ruben I think you're assuming I'm taking a moral stance against Sam here...I'm not. As I say, Sam's among the best of the bunch as officials went and then or today a modest amount of corruption can be tolerated so long as the work gets done reasonably well. My point is simply that then as now...And even back to the earliest civilization...There have been laws and occasionally they get enforced with consequences for many like Sam. He is breaking laws and his own moral code and he knows it and fears, even if punishment doesn't follow as a matter of course.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Let us remember that the whipped bargemen probably acted in the belief that 'everyone does it'...But there was a law and they were too powerless and unprotected to escape (regardless of whether we think them guilty of a crime worthy of the punishment or no). Sam is lucky, has some excellent 'connections' to protect him, but he is vulnerable and we have seen him sweat...


...and will see him sweat in the future.

Stacia  •  Link

Graham T, with respect, it's impossible to compare Lewinsky to, say, the little girl Susan. Susan was apparently very young and in a much more subservient role, with perhaps no chance to deny consent for Sam's groping. I do not know enough to condemn Sam, but I do feel the comparison you made is inaccurate.

Relatedly, I've been searching for 2 days for information on how old Susan is supposed to be, yet find nothing.

GrahamT  •  Link

Stacia, We are getting way off topic, but I wasn't just talking about Susan, but all the shopkeepers, booksellers and sundry wives of employees that he tries it on with.
He is 32, and most of his conquests are 20+ - often married. So far he has fondled Susan, we have no evidence that he went further.
Clinton was 50+ and Lewinski was 22, and they went much further.
I just used them as an example of powerful man and subservient woman in modern times, not as a direct counterparts.

Pedro  •  Link

"Same feelings about De Ruyter as above; “It was well for Tromp that he had his Patent for the Flag before De Ruyter returned;”

On the 1/11th August the States General decided at the insistence of Holland to give the supreme command of the fleet to De Ruyter.

4/14th August the Commissioners arrive and give their respects to De Ruyter, and decide that the gold that he brought back should be entrusted to his wife. He left for Texel and everywhere his passage was greeted as usual only for the Prince of Orange.

Tromp first complained bitterly at being relieved of his post and asked to be exempt, but after threat of court martial he relented.

De Ruyter goes on board the Delfland a ship of 450 men and 70 guns.

The Dutch fleet consists of 93 warships, 12 fire ships, 20 galliots and speed yachts. (4,300 guns and nearly 20,000 men, 4,600 being marines).

(Summary from The Life of De Ruyter by Blok)

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Well Graham, I would make the point that while Clinton disgraced himself and his office, Ms. Lewinsky had much more freedom to refuse than a number of the women Sam hits on. While I have my doubts as to the completemess of her innocence and suspect in this relationship Sam has been taken for a bit of a ride, Mrs. Bagwell for example probably fears her husband would immediately lose his job (which could well mean starvation as well as homelessness for the Bagwells)...Certainly any chance of promotion...If she refused Sam. (And as always, whether the Bagwells are sneeringly plotting to use Sam or innocent lambs stumbling into the grip of a corrupted man, Sam is guilty of abusing his position with her.)


I'll make my last (sorry for the long-windedness, I really mean it) point on corruption and Sam. No one likes to have his money stolen, 18th or 21st century American or 17th century British taxpayers, however tolerant they may seem of a certain level of corruption. In some part the British taxpayers cut off the head of the last king because his ministers' thefts were becoming too onerous. If the public mood gets much worse and if Sam's shadier dealings became public Charles would not hesitate to sacrifice him to the public outcry, if only to protect himself and friends from having the hue and cry focused on them.

Also there is a practical consideration. Sam may do his best but the more he focuses on his own gain, the more likely damage will be done to the public good. The real danger in corruption is that it can lead to incompetent management (Great job, Brownie!) and shoddy work which endangers lives and can threaten a nation's infrastructure, stability, and defense. This is why there have been rules and laws against corruption since civilization began. There may be no straight line between Sam taking increasingly large bribes and the Medway disaster, but each such act forces Sam to make allowances for one more 'friend' and encourages others in corruption, cause the word get out among the staff. Sure we should note that Sam does what he sees being done in a corrupt government and that Batten's or Charles' greed is probably far more damaging...But this isn't the Diary of Sir William Batten or Charles Stuart.

That said and done, perhaps the most amazing thing about governments and government service is the dedication and sense of duty so many bring to it, even those like Sam whom under a corrupt adminstration like Charles' can't resist grabbing a bit for security. I'm always amazed to see how dedicated and hard-working Roman emperors and bureaucrats often were and there always seems to be a Coventry, striving to try and improve things...And a Sam sincerely doing what he can...So long as he's doing well enough himself.

dirk  •  Link

Samuel's letter to Sandwich (from the Carte Papers, Terry's annotation above)

It struck me that although we know of the existence of this letter (through the Carte Papers), Sam makes no mention of it in his diary entry; he doesn't even mention writing letters at all today. Reading his daily entries, we could be tempted - and sometimes are - to think that he describes *everything* he did that day. Obviously he doesn't, and we humbly have to accept that we *don't* necessarily know all his doings - or thoughts for that matter...

CGS  •  Link

Dirk you are correct, Sam writes only that that be important to himself at the time of writing. 'Tis nice to read the news of the day that he may have read, and to see the documents that he has dispatched.
Also dot forget he has his business journal at the office that keeps tabs on Office work.
Small business men and decision making men all at one time kept official journals.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Spoiler -- Pepys & 'corruption'

What ever may have been the mores of the day, SP and Hewer were sufficiently notorious for the size and manner of their financial gain to be the object of a printed parody, an achievement rare for an identifiable government official of the day; though it must be noted it appeared at the time of the Scott trials and the publication may well have been 'sponsored' secretly by a government department.

A hue & cry after P. and H. and Plain truth.
[First Line title]Plain truth: or, A private discourse betwixt P. & H
[London : s.n., 1679]
8 p. ; 2⁰. Wing (CD-ROM, 1996), H3282
There is no copy in the Pepys Library!

CGS  •  Link

See Leviathan or 'wot be kings wot be mans'.
Two ways to gather wealth, sweet talk or arm wrestle.

King needs monies, lots of it, likes the sun kings style, where can C.II get some wealth quickly, ah! there be gold out of Vera Cruz and nice spices from Bataan, stuff in Africa, find an excuse to get it legally, use the Navy to get the Dutch wealth and as there is not enough navy, so commission some entrepreneurs [young Morgan eg] to exploit the Caribbean.

Us uneducated ones it be for the hi jump if we used a blunderbuss without getting sanction of officialdom.

Everyman likes to be appreciated for the work he does, be they farthings [TIPS] for cracked lips, or finding good mousetrap cheese at bargain prices [Commissions],extra fees for writing out a warrant at an ungodly hour.
Sun Kings gets most of his income from his docile subjects.
Name of the game is still the same, get all thy subjects to cough up a 1d on the shilling.
Now we have found the art of cloning.
Wars then got monies, helped the economy [nice spices], wars now be a drain on the economy, just flatter egos..
Mans still seeks freedom , but wants dominion.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

My two cents worth

Time was when Pepys relished gifts of plate and the odd score gold coin. I think he's moved on and values his acts on behalf of vendors more highly these days. One must have standards.

CGS  •  Link

A. Hamilton : luved thy tuppence worth, shows how when the unusual become normal we then seek the next level, 'tis nice to see how grows the man living in a garret to a man of substance.
Evolution at work.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"there comes Luellin, about Mr. Deering’s business of planke, to have the contract perfected, and offers me twenty pieces in gold, as Deering had done some time since himself, but I both then and now refused it, resolving not to be bribed to dispatch business, but will have it done however out of hand forthwith."

L&M: See…
The tender had been submitted on 25 July. CSPD 1665-6, p. 130.

Marquess  •  Link

It was James I who invented baronets in 1611, the Bacon baronetcy is the still the premier baronetcy.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Up, and with great pleasure looking over my wife’s pictures, and then to see my Lady Pen, whom I have not seen since her coming hither, and after being a little merry with her, she went forth and I staid there talking with Mrs. Pegg and looking over her pictures, and commended them; but, Lord! so far short of my wife’s, as no comparison."

A little merry with mom ... alone, and very complimentary to Mistress Pegg ... oh what a tangled web you weave, nice Uncle Sam. Keep your thoughts of Elizabeth's talent to yourself.

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