Saturday 16 December 1665

Up, and met at the office; Sir W. Batten with us, who come from Portsmouth on Monday last, and hath not been with us to see or discourse with us about any business till this day. At noon to dinner, Sir W. Warren with me on boat, and thence I by water, it being a fearfull cold, snowing day to Westminster to White Hall stairs and thence to Sir G. Downing, to whom I brought the happy newes of my having contracted, as we did this day with Sir W. Warren, for a ship’s lading of Norway goods here and another at Harwich to the value of above 3,000l., which is the first that hath been got upon the New Act, and he is overjoyed with it and tells me he will do me all the right to Court about it in the world, and I am glad I have it to write to Sir W. Coventry to-night. He would fain have me come in 200l. to lend upon the Act, but I desire to be excused in doing that, it being to little purpose for us that relate to the King to do it, for the sum gets the King no courtesy nor credit. So I parted from him and walked to Westminster Hall, where Sir W. Warren, who come along with me, staid for me, and there I did see Betty Howlet come after the sicknesse to the Hall. Had not opportunity to salute her, as I desired, but was glad to see her and a very pretty wench she is. Thence back, landing at the Old Swan and taking boat again at Billingsgate, and setting ashore we home and I to the office … and there wrote my letters, and so home to supper and to bed, it being a great frost. Newes is come to-day of our Sounde fleete being come, but I do not know what Sir W. Warren hath insured.

21 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

“So I...walked to Westminster-hall, where…I did see Betty Howlet.... I had not opportunity to salute her as I desired, but was glad to see her, and a very pretty wench she is. Thence back, landing at the Old Swan and taking boat again at Billingsgate and setting ashore at home; and I, lying down close in my boat, and there, without use of my hand, had great pleasure, and the first time I did make trial of my strength of fancy of that kind without my hand, and had it complete avec la fille que I did see au-jour-dhuy [ I had intercourse with the girl I saw today] in Westminster-hall. So to my office.…” [ L&M text, my translation]

Safe sex poineer, Samuel Pepys.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Terry, thanks for providing the missing passage. As I read it, Sam had intercourse with the girl only in his imagination - safe sex, as you say, but I think I would have chosen a different way of translating the Frenglish.

Robert Gertz  •  Link


Sound of clapping... "Awww...That's my boy. I am so proud."

"Shut up, Bess. Or my twenty-first century fans may miraculously discover the existence of several previously lost pages concerning you and a time I caught you "busy" with a novel..."

JWB  •  Link

"poineer"- a Poindexter who goes where none have gone before. OUD (Oxford Urban Dictionary)

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"... the first time I did make trial of my strength of fancy of that kind ..."

Perhaps SP caught an anachronistic whiff of this latest thing: what man wouldn't be inspired by smelling like a Whopper?

“Burger King 'Flame' -- Body spray of seduction, with a hint of flame-broiled meat. ... The WHOPPER sandwich is America's Favorite burger. FLAME by BK captures the essence of that love and gives it to you in the form of a body spray. ..."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"'Ey, Sid."

"'Ey, Loomis. Come aboard, we're a bit slow now."

"Thank ye. Eh, Sid? What's the fellow in back of yer boat up to there?"

"That be Mr. Pepys of the Navy. One gun salute I expect, Loomis."

"Aye. Would expect a toff like that could pay for it, though?"

"Fear of the pox, I'd expect. Ah, thar she blows, I believe. Well, we can press on a bit now. Best not to inquire about the ways of the gentry, Loomis."


A. De Araujo  •  Link

"without my hand"
There must have been some kind of rubbing!!!

Don McCahill  •  Link

> He would fain have me come in 200l. to lend upon the Act, but I desire to be excused in doing that, it being to little purpose for us that relate to the King to do it, for the sum gets the King no courtesy nor credit.

Is Sam turning down a bribe?

A.Hamilton  •  Link

He would fain have me come in 200l.

It does sound as if Sir George Downing is fishing and that Sam is rejecting the hook.

Ruben  •  Link

Is Sam turning down a bribe?
On the contrary, Sam is cautious or mindful not to interfere when the State represented by the King is part in the business.

"bribe" is a word full of innuendos in this century that do not belong to Samuel's time. We should call this kind of transactions "commission", I think.

cgs  •  Link

such a modern word: bribe or not bribe that be...

[Bribe n. and vb., and brybour, appear together in Chaucer and his contemporaries: their previous history is obscure. OF. had bribe in sense of ‘piece of bread, frustum panis’, esp. ‘a peece, lumpe, or cantill of bread giuen vnto a beggar’ (Cotgr.); the same senses occur with med.L. briba: .........

1. A thing stolen or robbed; theft, robbery; spoil, plunder. Obs. (The Chaucer quotation is doubtful: if the n. is right, it might perh. have the sense of ‘an alms’, as in OF.)
c1386 CHAUCER Friar's T. 78
2. ‘A reward given to pervert the judgment or corrupt the conduct’ (J.). a. The earlier sense probably regarded it as a consideration extorted, exacted, or taken by an official, a judge, etc.; i.e. as the act of the receiver: cf. BRIBER.
..1611 BIBLE 1 Sam. viii. 3 His sonnes..tooke bribes, and peruerted iudgement.

b. But it is now applied to a consideration voluntarily offered to corrupt a person and induce him to act in the interest of the giver, e.g. a consideration given to a voter to procure his vote.
1555 B...
1607 SHAKES. Cor. I. ix. 38, I..cannot make my heart consent to take A Bribe. 1667 PEPYS Diary (1879) IV. 340 His rise hath been his giving of large bribes.

to bribe:

1. trans. To take dishonestly; to purloin; to steal, rob; to obtain by abuse of trust, or by extortion; to extort. Obs.
c1386 CHAUCER Cook's T. 53....
2. To influence corruptly, by a reward or consideration, the action of (a person); to pervert the judgement or corrupt the conduct by a gift. Const. with a consideration, to an action, to do a thing.
1528 ROY Rede me (Arb.) 54 They brybe hym..for to be favoured. 1603 SHAKES. Meas. for M. II. ii. 145 Hark, how Ile bribe you..Ang. How? bribe me? Isa. I, with such gifts that heauen shall share with you.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Given Sam's constant nervousness over whether anyone might see him taking money, giving favor, etc, I'd say a bribe, while perhaps viewed more sympathetically in his day given the struggle for survival, was still recognized as a bribe. Heck, the Romans knew what a bribe was.

cgs  •  Link

quid pro quo (From the Latin meaning "something for something".
bribe be more baksheesh, a sweetener, to persuade one to change course to favour ones own views.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"He [Downing] would fain have me come in 200l. to lend upon the Act"

I think everyone has misconstrued the direction of the money here. Downing is asking Sam to *put up* 200L to lend to the Exchequer to help with military expenses. This is a follow-up to Downing's importuning on 12 December, when "he come to impose upon me that without more ado I must get by my credit people to serve in goods and lend money upon it and none could do it better than I, and the King should give me thanks particularly in it, and I could not get him to excuse me, but I must come to him though to no purpose on Saturday."

Sam is still in his accumulation phase, and doesn't want to see his end-of-month reckoning go down instead of up. Also, he knows enough about the government's finances to realize that he's unlikely ever to see the money again if he lends it. So he understandably wants to demur, without giving Downing grounds to spread the word that Sam is patriotically deficient.

Ruben  •  Link

Bribe vs. Comission
When Sam got his job, it was evident it included the money we call today bribe. But this was open for all to see, as the job was described as "worth so and so", "so and so" being the moneys paid to the holder of the job by those who wanted their affairs moved forward by the holder of the job! How can you call this transaction of money a bribe? The salary was small, and the King knew that it was impossible to make a living from it and you were expected or presumed to make some money from your position.
This was so evident that the previous holder of the position received from Pepys a big annuity to compensate him for his loss...

When you tip 10 $ a waiter, is it a bribe? He also has a salary...
Most of the annotators do not understand my point because they live in the first world. But forget that world when you speak about Sam. Sam lived a different world. Sam's only way to prosper was to use the same means others used in his time and that were more or less accepted as such.
Where did Sandwich's money come from? He build his palace from his salary?
In the diary we see all the time that Sam has associates that are doing exactly the same as he does.
For all this I find that using the word "bribe" for Pepys transactions is an injustice and we should say "commission", as this word is more neutral.

Donald McCahill  •  Link

> When you tip 10 $ a waiter, is it a bribe?

Of course it is. One of the acronyms for TIPS (probably made up after the fact) is To Insure Prompt Service.

(And thanks to Paul, who read the passage correctly, where I had not, I think.)

Bradford  •  Link

To reiterate: there's wasn't a standardized, government-mandated Bill of Fees on the wall ("Haircut, blown dry, $15"; "Car Title Notarized, $7"; "Flats Fixed, $20," to use examples from the economic past) which were being flouted.
And a bribe, or the offer of one, has to precede the transaction which results, not follow it. You tip the waiter; you bribe the maitre d'.

cgs  •  Link

wot be money???? we still do not fully comprehend, be it gold or silver, watered down or not or a number on a computer screen, wot be a man's time worth?

Compensation for doing the kings business , at one time, it be a paliass {bed} and leftovers from the "lauds" table, has now evolved into stock options and book advances, then for the clerks of Samuell's period and those in higher decision making levels, it be called perks of office, for the rest of the populace it be farthings {company credit card} for the cheese and crackers .

Rules change to help one set of wealth seekers versus disenfranchising others.

Still no one builds 'is castle from earning 'is daily bread, only build castles by out witting the gnu.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"He would fain have me come in 200l. to lend upon the Act, but I desire to be excused in doing that, it being to little purpose for us that relate to the King to do it, for the sum gets the King no courtesy nor credit."

L&M: But writing to Carteret on this subject on this same day Pepys congratulated him on his prudence in lending £1000: Shorthand Letters, p. 74.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Newes is come to-day of our Sounde fleete being come"

L&M note it anchored in the Thames mouth on the 15th: CSPD 1556-6, p. 103.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"I leave to your consideration whether it will be safe to stay a night in your house [in Clapham] till the plague be more abated. It is the last place I lay in after my owne lodgings, save that night only when I left you before you went away." -- Symon Patrick to Elizabeth Gauden, December 6, 1665 -- The Great Plague, Lloyd and Dorothy Moote, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004, page 198.

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