Thursday 12 October 1665

Called up before day, and so I dressed myself and down, it being horrid cold, by water to my Lord Bruncker’s ship, who advised me to do so, and it was civilly to show me what the King had commanded about the prize-goods, to examine most severely all that had been done in the taking out any with or without order, without respect to my Lord Sandwich at all, and that he had been doing of it, and find him examining one man, and I do find that extreme ill use was made of my Lord’s order. For they did toss and tumble and spoil, and breake things in hold to a great losse and shame to come at the fine goods, and did take a man that knows where the fine goods were, and did this over and over again for many days, Sir W. Berkeley being the chief hand that did it, but others did the like at other times, and they did say in doing it that my Lord Sandwich’s back was broad enough to bear it. Having learned as much as I could, which was, that the King and Duke were very severe in this point, whatever order they before had given my Lord in approbation of what he had done, and that all will come out and the King see, by the entries at the Custome House, what all do amount to that had been taken, and so I took leave, and by water, very cold, and to Woolwich where it was now noon, and so I staid dinner and talking part of the afternoon, and then by coach, Captain Cocke’s, to Greenwich, taking the young lady home, and so to Cocke, and he tells me that he hath cajolled with Seymour, who will be our friend; but that, above all, Seymour tells him, that my Lord Duke did shew him to-day an order from Court, for having all respect paid to the Earle of Sandwich, and what goods had been delivered by his order, which do overjoy us, and that to-morrow our goods shall be weighed, and he doubts not possession to-morrow or next day. Being overjoyed at this I to write my letters, and at it very late. Good newes this week that there are about 600 less dead of the plague than the last. So home to bed.

10 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Nobody cuts the brothers Stuart outta their piece of the action...

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

"cajolled" Mr. Seymour?

Bribed him more likely.

The prize goods are a very tempting piece of cheese for our mice Cocke and Pepys.

Sam so ready to believe Sandwich is now blessed by Court
in spite of his clear-headed analysis of yesterday.

Nate  •  Link

I guess it is situations like this that prompted reform in the second half of the 17th century moving prize authority from the crown to the admiralty courts.

jeannine  •  Link

The Stuarts...

Hmm, as I read this all I keep thinking of is what a creep Charles II was BEFORE he became Charles II in terms of privateering, prizes, etc. When it comes to money, he's not exactly one to be trusted, and everything should always be in writing!!!

Many years earlier, while Charles was in exile Rupert and Charles had a falling out over similar situation of who should get what, and Charles, being the slime that he can be, sent George Carteret in to be the bull dog for him. Although in the end the moeny gets sorted out, the painful feelings often last a lifetime.

Jesse  •  Link

'Charles II in terms of privateering'

My thinking is Charles II considered Divine Right (… ) still very much in effect. I vaguely recall his time in exile was rather difficult. The necessity of obtaining funds, by whatever means, was justified in order to properly maintain and exercise his role. Of course AFTER Charles II became Charles II funding was somewhat easier to come by and the luxury of honoring royal agreements more likely to occur.

Terry Foreman  •  Link


For my most honord Friend
Samuell Pepys Esqr:
at Greenewich:

Sayes Court

12 October 1665 (2)


This Enclos’d from his Grace (3) concernes the whole Fleete so neerely: that (after our former attempts) we are even forc’d to renew our Petition for prevention of the mischeife which now threatens more then ever, and especialy at Chatham.

I do also take the liberty on this opportunity to informe you of some inconveniences which concerne the honourable the Principal Officers, in relation to the Chest (4); and to supplicate their advice in order to the redresse: First, Our men in the London Hospitals steale downe to Chatham before they are Cur’d, and then returning back, with their gratuity, inflame themselves with drinke and dissorder, which exceedingly retards their health: They all this while concealing their having pensions, enjoy the Kings Super-allowance in the Hospitals, which formerly was not continud; when if their weekely allowance was more then their annual pension; the over-plus was only paid them, and the pension defaulked (5).

The remedy of this (under submission) may be, a restitution of the former practise; that the pay-master to the Hospital be ordered to difalk out of the additional allowance, as much as their pensions at the Chest amounts to weekly: This, will be our part to reforms: Whilst the Principall Officers and Comissioners of his Majesties Navy are desir’d to order the Clearke of the Chest to give our pay-master of our Hospital- Sick- Seamen etc an abstract of all Pensions and Gratuities settld at the Chest, and bestowd on any this yeare past; and alsoe that the sayd Clearke might once every fortnight transmitt our Officer a list of such as are from time to time addmitted into Pensions:

They of late also practise another Cheate; which is, when they are discharg’d our Hospitals as cured, to conceale the Chirurgeons Certificats that they are in part, or totaly dissabl’d (which is a caution we have chargd our Chirurgeons to insert) and come ranting and swearing to us for Conduct-mony to returne to their Shipps, when the next newes we hear, is, that they goe to the Chest, and no farther: For prevention whereoff you may be pleas’d to order that none be admittd from any our Infirmitories into Pensions, but such as have the hand of the Pay-Master of our Hospitals etc to their Certificates:

Upon view of these abuses, I thought fit to offer them to your Consideration, it being an Article frequently repeatd in our Instructions, to be as frugal, and circumspect as we could in the mangement of our Trust; and these coming under my particular cognizance, as I have had (to the greate increase of my Trouble) the Hospitals of London to look after during the absence of my Brother Commissioners (to whom the care equaly belongs), I recommend those to your more careful[?] addresses (6) who remaine Sir

Your most humble and faithfull servant



Our small pittance at last in prospect, I am marching away with the Prisoners as fast as I can, and hope in short time to cleere the shipps; after which, (unlesse prevented by something very effectul) I resolve for Oxon (7), where if I see no evident assurance of some solid fonds (8) to carry on the Worke, without exposing us to such another plunge, and accidental subsistance; I shall cease for the future to continue the trouble to you and resigne to some more fortunate Person.

Source: MS, collection of William H. Fern, Connecticut (ex-Sothebys 24 July 1995 sale catalogue, Lot 487). Endorsed by P, ‘12.8br:65 Commissioner for sick and wounded. Some observations of his how the chest is abused by seamen, and propounds remedy for it’. The letter came from a collection accumulated in the 1800s, but was probably once in official records, where the others of this period still are.

2 MS: ‘Says-Court 12th: 8br-65’.

3 Albemarle. He had written to E on 9 October (see A4 note 6), advising E about where to collect money and also to instruct him to forward an enclosure to Brouncker and Mennes. It is probable that this is what is referred to here. The MS also bears, by the address, a pencilled note (by E?) ‘with to read’. P went to see Albemarle on 13 October (diary).

4 A welfare fund for disabled and wounded seamen (see Latham and Matthews, X, 59). The actual chest is on display at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

5 Defalk: reduce by deductions.

6 See previous note.

7 Pepys was impressed by E’s assiduous pursuit of the corruption and his rigorous record-keeping. He wrote to Coventry to tell him that, ‘Mr Eveling (to instance one port) showed me his accompt of Graves-end where for every penny he demands allowance for and for every sick man he hath had under his care he shews you all you can wish for in Colloms of which I have here for your satisfaction enclosed an Example which I dare say you will say with me he deserves greate thanks for, I have since wrott to him [letter unknown] to cause transcripts of these accompts to be sent to us and hope our people will see the King here have the benefit of it in the payments of shipps and adjustment with pursers...’ (letter to Coventry, 14 October 1665, NMM LBK/8, 256; published by Tanner 1929, no. 52).

8 E apparently never made this threatened journey.

9 An obsolete, pre-18th century, form of ‘funds’.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Of course AFTER Charles II became Charles II funding was somewhat easier to come by and the luxury of honoring royal agreements more likely to occur."

Jesse, after my post on this site based on a naive Yankee assumption that Charles II had begun his reign at his coronation, 29 May 1660, I was gently informed by a colleague here that (as Wikipedia notes) "After 1660, all legal documents were dated as if he had succeeded his father as king [30 January] 1649."…

The consistent royalist (cavalier) view was there was no Interregnum.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"by water to my Lord Bruncker’s ship,"

At Erith. (Per L&M footnote)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Being overjoyed at this I to write my letters"

L&M: E.g. to Sandwich about the distribution of the prize-goods: Shorthand Letters, pp. 62-4.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Good newes this week that there are about 600 less dead of the plague than the last."

L&M: 4127 as against 4939.

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