Monday 16 October 1665

Up about seven o’clock; and, after drinking, and I observing Mr. Povy’s being mightily mortifyed in his eating and drinking, and coaches and horses, he desiring to sell his best, and every thing else, his furniture of his house, he walked with me to Syon, and there I took water, in our way he discoursing of the wantonnesse of the Court, and how it minds nothing else, and I saying that that would leave the King shortly if he did not leave it, he told me “No,” for the King do spend most of his time in feeling and kissing them naked … [all over their bodies in bed — and contents himself, without doing the other thing but as he finds himself included; – L&M] But this lechery will never leave him.

Here I took boat (leaving him there) and down to the Tower, where I hear the Duke of Albemarle is, and I to Lumbard Streete, but can get no money. So upon the Exchange, which is very empty, God knows! and but mean people there. The newes for certain that the Dutch are come with their fleete before Margett, and some men were endeavouring to come on shore when the post come away, perhaps to steal some sheep. But, Lord! how Colvill talks of the businesse of publique revenue like a madman, and yet I doubt all true; that nobody minds it, but that the King and Kingdom must speedily be undone, and rails at my Lord about the prizes, but I think knows not my relation to him. Here I endeavoured to satisfy all I could, people about Bills of Exchange from Tangier, but it is only with good words, for money I have not, nor can get. God knows what will become of all the King’s matters in a little time, for he runs in debt every day, and nothing to pay them looked after. Thence I walked to the Tower; but, Lord! how empty the streets are and melancholy, so many poor sick people in the streets full of sores; and so many sad stories overheard as I walk, every body talking of this dead, and that man sick, and so many in this place, and so many in that. And they tell me that, in Westminster, there is never a physician and but one apothecary left, all being dead; but that there are great hopes of a great decrease this week: God send it!

At the Tower found my Lord Duke and Duchesse at dinner; so I sat down. And much good cheer, the Lieutenant and his lady, and several officers with the Duke. But, Lord! to hear the silly talk that was there, would make one mad; the Duke having none almost but fools about him. Much of their talke about the Dutch coming on shore, which they believe they may some of them have been and steal sheep, and speak all in reproach of them in whose hands the fleete is; but, Lord helpe him, there is something will hinder him and all the world in going to sea, which is want of victuals; for we have not wherewith to answer our service; and how much better it would have been if the Duke’s advice had been taken for the fleete to have gone presently out; but, God helpe the King! while no better counsels are given, and what is given no better taken. Thence after dinner receiving many commands from the Duke, I to our office on the Hill, and there did a little business and to Colvill’s again, and so took water at the Tower, and there met with Captain Cocke, and he down with me to Greenwich, I having received letters from my Lord Sandwich to-day, speaking very high about the prize goods, that he would have us to fear nobody, but be very confident in what we have done, and not to confess any fault or doubt of what he hath done; for the King hath allowed it, and do now confirm it, and sent orders, as he says, for nothing to be disturbed that his Lordshipp hath ordered therein as to the division of the goods to the fleete; which do comfort us, but my Lord writes to me that both he and I may hence learn by what we see in this business. But that which pleases me best is that Cocke tells me that he now understands that Fisher was set on in this business by the design of some of the Duke of Albemarle’s people, Warcupp and others, who lent him money to set him out in it, and he has spent high. Who now curse him for a rogue to take 100l. when he might have had as well 1,500l., and they are mightily fallen out about it. Which in due time shall be discovered, but that now that troubles me afresh is, after I am got to the office at Greenwich that some new troubles are come, and Captain Cocke’s house is beset before and behind with guards, and more, I do fear they may come to my office here to search for Cocke’s goods and find some small things of my clerk’s. So I assisted them in helping to remove their small trade, but by and by I am told that it is only the Custome House men who came to seize the things that did lie at Mr. Glanville’s, for which they did never yet see our Transire, nor did know of them till to-day. So that my fear is now over, for a transire is ready for them. Cocke did get a great many of his goods to London to-day. To the Still Yarde, which place, however, is now shut up of the plague; but I was there, and we now make no bones of it.

Much talke there is of the Chancellor’s speech and the King’s at the Parliament’s meeting, which are very well liked; and that we shall certainly, by their speeches, fall out with France at this time, together with the Dutch, which will find us work. Late at the office entering my Journall for 8 days past, the greatness of my business hindering me of late to put it down daily, but I have done it now very true and particularly, and hereafter will, I hope, be able to fall into my old way of doing it daily.

So to my lodging, and there had a good pullet to my supper, and so to bed, it being very cold again, God be thanked for it!

30 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

“Mr. Povy's being mightily mortifyed in his eating and drinking, and coaches and horses, he desiring to sell his best, and every thing else, his furniture of his house,”

mortify (practice self-denial of one's body and appetites)
mortify, subdue, crucify (hold within limits and control) "subdue one's appetites"; "mortify the flesh"…

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"in feeling and kissing them naked … "

L&M "... for the King doth spend most of his time in feeling and kissing them naked all over their bodies in bed -- and contents himself, without doing the other thing but as he finds himself inclined; but this lechery will never leave him."

Roger  •  Link

'So to my lodging, and there had a good pullet to my supper, and so to bed, it being very cold again, God be thanked for it!'....

Samuel has made several references to the cold so far this month (as has Josselin). Met Office data shows that this October 1665 is ranked 94th coldest out of 349 since 1649(average central England temperature). The current Oct 2008 is just about on the long term mid-month running-average of near 11.6C.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

“Much talke there is of the Chancellor's speech and the King's at the Parliament's meeting, which are very well liked; and that we shall certainly, by their speeches, fall out with France at this time, together with the Dutch, which will find us work.”

The King’s speech delivered 10 October…

The Lord Chancellor’s speech that followed and elaborated on it…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...but I was there, and we now make no bones of it."

The plague-proof Mr. P. But one eventually gets used to enduring such risks.

Very interesting links, Terry, on the speeches, thanks.

"...which will find us work." I guess so... Still, even Louis isn't likely to try an invasion until the plague abates.

Of course Charlie has two options, end the war on the best terms possible...Humilating, possibly disasterous...Or, assuming that for all the talk of lechery and waste, the real problem is underfunding and cutting court abuse might look good but would not make for any more real improvement than our US Senator McCain's "earmarks", carry on just as he is, hoping for the best and relying on the plague and the best efforts of Pepys, Coventry, Jamie, Sandwich, Clarendon and other able men to hold things together. It's an interesting matter to consider...After all Charles I and Cromwell had serious financial problems, despite a bit more restraint in lifestyle and in Oliver's case the chance to plunder enemies' property. While certainly a more temperate court and such things as using the prize goods to feed some of the men and temporarily ease the fleet's victualing problems would improve public relations and more important, encourage Parliament to give more, I suspect Charlie's wicked ways really don't add up to more than a comparative drop in the budget bucket. The main improvement with a tighter rein on corruption and better accountability would be that Parliament and the public could see where the money is going and that it is being spent wisely. And given the dislocations of the plague, even if Charlie were willing to follow such a course, it might be difficult right now. Perhaps, short of finding that potentially disasterous out to the war, he's actually following the only possible policy in such a situation...

Honorius the Roman emperor at the helm, sort of, during the collapse of the Rhine frontier and the first sack of Rome often gets covered with buckets of abuse yet given the crippled state of the army and the Western empire and his own lack of military ability probably followed a fairly wise policy after killing or allowing the death of Rome best general at the time, Stilicho, and managed to restitch much of the Western empire back together in the remainder of his reign. I don't mean to say Charles II is following a brilliant strategy...Just speculating that short of finding a financial wizard to appoint as economic czar it may well be the only real course open to him at this time. He can't expect a plague-stricken nation to pay the heavier taxes required to fund the Navy, credit has collapsed for the moment, it's difficult to find healthy men to serve without crippling the economy and he can't pay or supply them...Again, it might look good to kick the courtiers and the ladies out, end all frivilous expenses, and send all prize goods profits to the fleet and men...But apart from the important impression it would make on Parliament for when new financing would be possible, would it really make much difference right now?

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Wow ... I don't think I've ever seen an entry with so many exclamations and entreaties to God. Dire times.

Why is Povy suddenly (to our eyes, anyway) mortified? Perhaps he's guilty about his own excesses, given what he sees going on in the court? Or perhaps facing his own financial crisis?

Robert, given the size and spending habits of the court, I think fixing things and focusing on business rather than idle pleasure could indeed make quite a financial difference. Think about how Evelyn could help thousands of men with £10,000 -- I'm pretty sure Charles & Co. could save that much easily in a month (or less) by rei(g)ning in spending, kicking out the courtiers and hangers-on, etc. He could still play, but only after he got some work done. I've always found that makes play all the more enjoyable, anyway!

Amazing that Sam found the time and has the motivation to write such detailed entries after eight days off. Such fantastic dedication to this pursuit of self-examination -- to our benefit. Thank you, Samuel.

adamw  •  Link

Roger - I think Sam's specific reason for thanking God for the cold is to do with the plague. The epidemic ran high while the weather was hot, and recedes in the colder weather. It was well recognised that plague was a summer illness. Not sure quite why this is - behaviour of rats, or fleas?

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"without doing the other thing"
I am sure there were aphrodisiacs then.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"behavior of rats, or fleas"
Just guessing; It could be that with the cold weather the rats stayed indoors thus diminishing the spread of the plague.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

and people did not travel or go out as much in the winter.

Gillian Bradshaw Ball  •  Link

Mr. Povy's 'much mortified in. . .his horses, desiring to sell his best.' These are presumably the 'fine noble horses' of the previous entry,'the king has none such'. Did he think Sam was prospective buyer?

Jesse  •  Link

"the wantonnesse of the Court"

Even if it's true that "Charlie’s wicked ways really don’t add up to more than a comparative drop in the budget bucket" there's that 'image thing' that's critical for morale which can oftentimes work wonders in periods of difficulty. Think today's 'royalty', business executives, who while gorging themselves in the trough of corporate revenues (in my opinion) hardly make a dent in the books. Does it matter when times are tough?

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"God knows what will become of all the King’s matters in a little time, for he runs in debt every day, and nothing to pay them looked after."

Prior to what must be a collapse in domestic economic activity with the plague and in trade with the war and presumably a 'crisis' in excise and other revenue collection caused by the social dislocations, SP first realized the naval and state funding crisis was looming in the early days of April starting on the 1st., eg:

"Thence with Sir G. Carteret to my Lord Treasurer, and by and by come Sir W. Batten and Sir J. Minnes, and anon we come to my Lord, and there did lay open the expence for the six months past, and an estimate of the seven months to come, to November next: the first arising to above 500,000l., and the latter will, as we judge, come to above 1,000,000l.. But to see how my Lord Treasurer did bless himself, crying he could do no more than he could, nor give more money than he had, if the occasion and expence were never so great, which is but a sad story. ...

Thence home, vexed mightily to see how simply our greatest ministers do content themselves to understand and do things, while the King’s service in the meantime lies a-bleeding. "…

Naval affairs were not well financed even in the 'pure angelical times' of Cromwell and the 'saints:'

“The Navy of the Restoration was powerful, but bankrupt. In the spring of 1660, with some ships in commission which had been unpaid for over four years, the Navy owed over 1 1/4 million pounds. The Cavalier Parliament established a commission to disband the army and pay off the Navy’s accumulated debts, which by 1663 had raised almost 2 1/2 million pounds. Even so Charles II had to find at least 375,000 L to discharge debts in his first four years on the throne, out of his ordinary income of one million a year, and it is not certain that all the naval debts of the 1650’s were ever paid. Though the Parliaments of Charles II certainly had a more realistic idea of the cost of preparing for war than his father’s had done, and made little difficulty about maintaining the Excise on beer and ale, even in the first flush of royalist enthusiasm they never provided him with an income sufficient to maintain the fleet which he and they desired.”

NAM Rodger ‘Command of the Ocean’ 2004/5 p. 95. et seq. See also ‘Naval Finance’ pp. 640-645 where Rodger gives tables of Exchequer Issues to Navy and Ordinance, Naval Expenditure, Outstanding Debt etc, from 1649 well into the ‘future.’

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link


An education, as always

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

News of the present day

"I to Lumbard Streete, but can get no money."

Australian Susan  •  Link

"...without doing the other thing..."

Possibly this was Charles's best efforts at saving money: fewer Royal bastards to support.

Bergie  •  Link

Todd B., of the two spellings you implicitly asked about, "reining in" is correct. The metaphor is from driving horses, not from ruling nations.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Again, I agree on the PR value of "cleanin' up this here court" but I think the real problem remains the underfunding of the fleet and my speculation is that, given the situation right now,especially with the plague dislocation, and the government scattered, Charles may be doing, short of ending the war (and again, possibly a disasterous move at this time), the only thing he can...Waiting for Parliament to vote funds and carrying on with the best tools he has.

dirk  •  Link

From the Carte Papers, Bodleian Library…

An intelligence report from the continent:

Sir William Temple to the Duke of Ormond (Ireland)

Written from: Brussels
Date: 16 October 1665

Continues his account of the Bishop of Munster's expedition in the Netherlands, and of other passing incidents... Describes the consternation in Holland to be very great; the payments, insupportable. "Their only resource", continues the writer, "which is France, is poisoned by extreme jealousies. Their last Placaert came out in the name of the 'States & Prince of Orange', being the first of that style. I will not divine whether the game they will choose will be to make a truckling peace with us, upon our own terms, or abandon themselves to the protection of France; but one [or other] seems necessary".

dirk  •  Link

From the Carte Papers, Bodleian Library…

Further intelligence from the continent:

Carlingford to the Duke of Ormond

Written from: Meppin, on the borders of West Friesland [Partly written at Munster, on the writer's journey]
Date: 16 (British calendar) /26 (continental calendar) October 1665

Reports political conferences held by the writer with the Marquess of Castel-Rodrigo, on the subject of an alliance between the Crowns of England and Spain; and also other conferences on public affairs with the Elector of Cologne and with the Bishop of Munster [Christopher Bemard von Gahlen], of whose warlike exploits and successes against the States General, the writer adds a long account.

If the Bishop's proposal for an English contingent, now transmitted to the King, be accepted, it may well, thinks Lord Carlingford, lay a foundation for the "Conquest of Holland". [Meaning, as the context shows, that the addition of 8000 English troops to 26,000 already said to be under arms, would enable the Bishop at once to reduce all Friesland, and to apply its spoils to the raising of a vast army].

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Much of their talke about the Dutch coming on shore, which they believe they may some of them have been and steal [some] sheep"

L&M: De Ruyter had sailed from Texel on 11 October at the head of 90 ships, hoping to bring the English fleet to action. His force was soon dispersed by storms:…
On the 15th his guns had played on Margate, damaging a few chimneys and killing two sheep. Cf. Marvell, Third advice to a painter, ll. 351-2: 'Some sheep are stol'n, the Kingdom's all array'd/ And even Presbyt'ry's now call'd out for aid'…
The news of a landing seems to have been a canard: see The Intelligencer, 23 October p. 1032 and other sources.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

" I to Lumbard Streete, but can get no money"

For Pepys's other efforts to cash the tallies he had drawn on 29 September, see his exchange of letters with John Colville, Sir John Frederick and Nathaniel Herne printed in HMC, Eliot Hodgkin, pp. 164-6. (L&M nite)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

" And they tell me that, in Westminster, there is never a physician and but one apothecary left, all being dead"

Westminster, with its over-crowded alleys, was badly hit by the plague. Many physicians had left for the country. (L&M note)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I having received letters from my Lord Sandwich to-day"

Sandwich to Pepys, 14 October, Rawl. A 174. f. 303r. 'The Kinge hath Confirmed it and given mee order to distribute these very Proportions.... You are to owne the Possession of them with Confidence.... Carry it high and owne nothinge of baseness or dishonor.' (L&M note)

Robert Harneis  •  Link

"the Still Yarde
Covering four acres, the Steelyard, on the bank of the River Thames, included wharves, warehouses, private houses, etc. It is now covered by Cannon Street station."

The Still Yard was still at that time the head quarters of the once all powerful Hanseatic League in London and England. The Still refers, if my memory serves me right, to the large steel beam weighing machine there. At that time the League, an ancient version of the European Common Market, was on its last legs having once been powerful enough to order English Kings about and finance their wars. They themselves even made war on Edward IV and raided East Anglia when he got too uppity. Brexiteers beware.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The steeling of English sheep might have been more important than you imagine.

In 1566, in order to prevent other countries from breeding English sheep, which were famous for the quality of their wool, the statute 8 Eliz. c. 3. was passed, punishing those who exported sheep or lambs alive by the “forfeiture of goods, and imprisonment for a year, and that at the end of the year the left hand shall be cut off in some public market, and shall be there nailed up in the openest place.”

A second offense was considered a felony -- if you lived to tell the tale.

I suspect this law was no longer enforced, but as we know, William Prynne was working in the archives of the Tower of London right now, reading old texts and compiling what laws had been passed so he could distribute law books and everyone would know what the law of the land really was.

Vincent Telford  •  Link

This very day Sam wrote and had sent with instuctions to the person taking the letter .. this letter that has survived to this day:…

Samuel Pepys to en:John Evelyn, 16 October 1665
The text reads:

I entreat you to consider this letter about/ ye prisoners, & what ye Bearer shall inform you/ touching the sicke men./ Yr. most humble servt./

S. Pepys

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