Wednesday 13 December 1665

Up betimes and finished my journall for five days back, and then after being ready to my Lord Bruncker by appointment, there to order the disposing of some money that we have come into the office, and here to my great content I did get a bill of imprest to Captain Cocke to pay myself in part of what is coming to me from him for my Lord Sandwich’s satisfaction and my owne, and also another payment or two wherein I am concerned, and having done that did go to Mr. Pierce’s, where he and his wife made me drink some tea, and so he and I by water together to London. Here at a taverne in Cornhill he and I did agree upon my delivering up to him a bill of Captain Cocke’s, put into my hand for Pierce’s use upon evening of reckonings about the prize goods, and so away to the ’Change, and there hear the ill news, to my great and all our great trouble, that the plague is encreased again this week, notwithstanding there hath been a day or two great frosts; but we hope it is only the effects of the late close warm weather, and if the frosts continue the next week, may fall again; but the town do thicken so much with people, that it is much if the plague do not grow again upon us. Off the ’Change invited by Sheriff Hooker, who keeps the poorest, mean, dirty table in a dirty house that ever I did see any Sheriff of London; and a plain, ordinary, silly man I think he is, but rich; only his son, Mr. Lethulier, I like, for a pretty, civil, understanding merchant; and the more by much, because he happens to be husband to our noble, fat, brave lady in our parish, that I and my wife admire so. Thence away to the Pope’s Head Taverne, and there met first with Captain Cocke, and dispatched my business with him to my content, he being ready to sign his bill of imprest of 2,000l., and gives it me in part of his payment to me, which glads my heart. He being gone, comes Sir W. Warren, who advised with me about several things about getting money, and 100l. I shall presently have of him. We advised about a business of insurance, wherein something may be saved to him and got to me, and to that end he and I did take a coach at night and to the Cockepitt, there to get the Duke of Albemarle’s advice for our insuring some of our Sounde goods coming home under Harman’s convoy, but he proved shy of doing it without knowledge of the Duke of Yorke, so we back again and calling at my house to see my wife, who is well; though my great trouble is that our poor little parish is the greatest number this weeke in all the city within the walls, having six, from one the last weeke; and so by water to Greenwich leaving Sir W. Warren at home, and I straight to my Lord Bruncker, it being late, and concluded upon insuring something and to send to that purpose to Sir W. Warren to come to us to-morrow morning. So I home and, my mind in great rest, to bed.

23 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I did get a bill of imprest to Captain Cocke to pay myself in part of what is coming to me from him"

This, I take it, is a warrant or receipt, the basis of the imprest system of accounting.….

Terry Foreman  •  Link


[ Evelyn will empty the ships the King wants, but needs substitutes ]

For Samuell Pepys Esqr.

One of the principall Officers
of his Majesties Navy
at the Navy Office in Greenewich

Sayes Court

13 December 1665 (2)


Being now willing to remove not onely the Prisoners out of the Golden-hand, and Prince William (3) (according to the Command) but likewise to Cleere all the Shipps at once, that so you may be at full liberty for the future to dispose of them: I most humbly make it my request that you will facilitate the Worke by gratifying my Martial with your Warrant, impowering him to presse some tiltboate or other, as there shall be occasion, for the transporting them to Gravesend, in order to their march: This, Sir, if you shall do, you will much oblige


Your most humble Servant


My Martials name is Mr John Rowlandson

Martiall at Leeds-Castle. Kent

Be pleasd to send the Order to me by the Bearer hereoff. (4)

Source: PRO S.P. 29/139, f.11. Endorsed by P, ‘13 December Says Court. Esqr Evelin.’ This letter bears the text of a shorthand letter or memorandum in P’s hand on the verso. Also dated 13 December 1665, it appears to be concerned with a bill of imprest (a cash advance) to Captain George Cocke, part of which Cocke was to use to pay a debt to P. E’s letter does not appear to be mentioned. The negotiations with Cocke, conducted in the Pope’s Head tavern in Chancery Lane, are discussed in P’s diary (13 December 1665). The present letter was addressed to Greenwich. It seems that having collected, or been delivered, his post P found E’s letter a convenient scrap of paper to use in the tavern to make a record of the deal with Cocke.

2 MS: ‘Says-Court 13:Dr:-65’.

3 See A16, notes 4 and 5.

4 Although undoubtedly in E’s hand this letter, and particularly the postscriptum, is written in a larger, and better-defined, hand than normal.


Michael Robinson  •  Link

"... he and his wife made me drink some tea, ..."

Not one of SP's favorite beverages, the only prior reference I can find:

"And afterwards I did send for a cup of tee (a China drink) of which I never had drank before, and went away."…

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

"My God how the money rolls in...."

jeannine  •  Link

"he and his wife made me drink some tea"

Upon her arrivel to England Queen Catherine asked for some tea. From that time, it's been "THE" drink to try. I am sure, like any other drink that tends to be bitter (i.e. coffee, etc.) that is is an acquired taste, but now in the royal circles and those wanna-bes it's the 'in' things to drink.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

The Names gather...

"I straight to my Lord Bruncker, it being late, and concluded upon insuring something and to send to that purpose to Sir W. Warren to come to us to- morrow morning."

Sam is standing on the threshold of the modern insurance business.

From Wikipedia:
"Separate insurance contracts (i.e., insurance policies not bundled with loans or other kinds of contracts) were invented in Genoa in the 14th century, as were insurance pools backed by pledges of landed estates. These new insurance contracts allowed insurance to be separated from investment, a separation of roles that first proved useful in marine insurance. Insurance became far more sophisticated in post-Renaissance Europe, and specialized varieties developed.

"Toward the end of the seventeenth century, London's growing importance as a centre for trade increased demand for marine insurance. In the late 1680s, Edward Lloyd opened a coffee house that became a popular haunt of ship owners, merchants, and ships’ captains, and thereby a reliable source of the latest shipping news. It became the meeting place for parties wishing to insure cargoes and ships, and those willing to underwrite such ventures. Today, Lloyd's of London remains the leading market (note that it is not an insurance company) for marine and other specialist types of insurance, but it works rather differently than the more familiar kinds of insurance.

"Insurance as we know it today can be traced to the Great Fire of London, which in 1666 devoured 13,200 houses. In the aftermath of this disaster, Nicholas Barbon opened an office to insure buildings. In 1680, he established England's first fire insurance company, "The Fire Office," to insure brick and frame homes."

JWB  •  Link


This is the 2d week of Advent. We know he fasted 1st of 1st week & in that "teas" have become a part of Advent celebrations today, perhaps this was an Advent "Ur-Tea".

Mary  •  Link


Wednesday 6th December 1665 was the regular, monthly fast-day (first Wednesday of each month) established because of the plague. The fact that it fell in the first week of Advent is purely fortuitous.

Where is Advent celebrated with 'teas'? Not in this, UK, neck of the Anglican woods.

JWB  •  Link

But Mary, Sam's last was a Monday fast, recorded on Tuesday & Sam has not been observing 1st Wed. fasts for @ least last couple months, I checked. I don't know of any ECUSA Advent Teas either, but then I don't known any espiscopals.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Advent Tea

I googled that. It seems to be mostly a Lutheran custom in the US (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Missouri Synod Lutheran Church, etc.) , though there are a United Methodist and Roman Catholic congregation or two here that celebrate same.

JWB, I'll bet you know some espiscopals.

Mollusc  •  Link

Administrator Alert: the 'Sherrif Hooker' link in the text above goes instead to 'Mr Pierce'.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Here at a taverne in Cornhill he [Dr. James Pierce]and I did agree upon my delivering up to him a bill of Captain Cocke’s, put into my hand for Pierce’s use upon evening of reckonings about the prize goods..."

So confirmation that Mrs. Pierce's escapades concerning Cocke and protecting the goods were a Pierce family affair...Quite a wife, that Betty. Interesting that it never comes up that she and Bess have the same first name. Is Bess on a pedestal, however artificial, given Sam's frequent neglect,and never to be sullied by having her name mentioned, or property not worthy of being named? I actually incline (mostly) to the former...

language hat  •  Link

Mollusc: Drop Phil a line; he may not see your comment.

Phil Gyford  •  Link

Thanks Mollusc and Language Hat; someone else alerted me to your annotation. Yes, it is best to email me directly in case I'm (unfortunately) too busy to keep a close eye on things! The link's corrected now.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Captain" George Cocke and Mr. John Evelyn

Interesting that Cocke, who is Treasurer of the Commission for Sick and Wounded Seaman, sees much of SP but is never their advocate, unlike Evelyn, a Commissioner for Sick and Wounded Seaman, who is. Cocke seems to make a strict functional distinction ("not my job") that I can't imagine Pepys making: SP is always sticking his nose into others' biz, so he can do his better -- for the King.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Some notes on posts above:

-- The ships Evelyn is having emptied are wanted by the Duke of York, not the King:…

-- The "Mr. Pierce [ Pearse ]" here is Andrew, a ship's purser: we don't know his wife's name.

-- "made me drink": Pepys has write he "made" others drink unusual beverages; it seems to mean "to invite" that is not be refused for politeness' sake.

-- Insurance Wikipedia…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"that the plague is encreased again this week"

L&M: There were 57 plague deaths altogether in the parishes within the walls.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"that the plague is encreased again this week"

L&M: 243 died from plague during 5-12 December; 210 during the previous week.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Sheriff Hooker, who keeps the poorest, mean, dirty table in a dirty house that ever I did see any Sheriff of London;"

L&M: A small house (of eight hearths) in Eastcheap North, near Three Kings Court in the parish of St Clement. John Lethieulier (his son-in-law) had a house with 16 hearths.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

L&M have a different take on the tea Mr. Pierce and his wife shared with Pepys:

Tea was an expensive rarity. Perhaps Pierce (as purser of Sandwich's ship, the Royal Charles) had acquired it as a prize from the Dutch E. Indiaman (see….
It was possibly used on this occasion as a medicine against the plague.

The Greenwich Patriot  •  Link

The Lethieulier monument is just outside St Alfege church, Greenwich. (The south-west corner).

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