Saturday 30 December 1665

Up and to the office, at noon home to dinner, and all the afternoon to my accounts again, and there find myself, to my great joy, a great deal worth above 4000l., for which the Lord be praised! and is principally occasioned by my getting 500l. of Cocke, for my profit in his bargains of prize goods, and from Mr. Gawden’s making me a present of 500l. more, when I paid him 8000 for Tangier. So to my office to write letters, then to my accounts again, and so to bed, being in great ease of mind.

18 Annotations

First Reading

Larry Bunce  •  Link

A currency converter figures 4000 pounds in 1665 comes to $727,000 today. Hard work and good connections (and a hand in the till) pays off.

Eric Walla  •  Link

But does he let Elizabeth know? I have a feeling she would want a major upgrade in conditions to reflect their good fortune, whereas Sam would want an upgrade almost exclusively in those things that make him look better in business.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"a great deal worth above 4000 l."
Is he including his land?

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

I hope all our annotators face 2009 with equally "great ease of mind". Happy New Year!

Bradford  •  Link

When we tot up our worldly wealth this time next year, may all of us be worth, according to Pepys's stringent accounting methods, £4000 apiece.

(He doesn't do double entry, does he? Net worth, but not Expenditures vs. Income?)

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

From Holland: happy and healthy new year to all readers and annotators of this fine site.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

John Evelyn's Diary (Dirk's not having posted it)

30. To Woodcot, where I supped at my Lady Mordaunt's at Ashsted, where was a room hung with pintado, full of figures great and small, prettily representing sundry trades and occupations of the Indians, with their habits; here supped also Dr. Duke, a learned and facetious gentleman.

pintado = painted fabrics brought by Portuguese from India…

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"a learned and facetious gentleman" [Evelyn's description of Dr. Duke]

Per OED, not our current meaning of "facetious". Rather:

†1. [After L. facetus.] Of style, manners, etc.: Polished and agreeable, urbane. [Obsolete]

Robert Gertz  •  Link

So...How's about the rest? Wasn't Sam worth about 1650Ls last year about this time?

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"... all the afternoon to my accounts again, ..."

Last year's summary:-

" ... I was well satisfied with my worke, and, above all, to find myself, by the great blessing of God, worth 1349l., by which, as I have spent very largely, so I have laid up above 500l. this yeare above what I was worth this day twelvemonth. The Lord make me for ever thankful to his holy name for it! "…

Nix  •  Link

As I recall, when Samuel started the diary he reckoned hs net worth at 40 L -- so today's casting of accounts reflects a hundredfold increase. Let us hope he didn't invest any of it in General Motors.

My impression is that Samuel's accounts reflect only his financial assets -- cash and receivables, minus loans outstanding -- and not personal goods or household furnishings. Not clear where his land inheritance fits into the reckoning.

cgs  •  Link

Derivatives were not in the picture then, they never counted the un-laid eggs as egg layers.
It be CASH, gold and silver, not the fur coat from Tiffani's,or the kegs of wine or the cauldron of coals that be resting next to the Jakes.
Land be classed as the rent collected or owed [10 quid per year ?] not its potential selling value.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"He doesn't do double entry, does he?"

Yes, Bradford, they do know about double-entry bookkeeping. The Italians taught the British accounting (which is why we have an L to denote the pound; it came to us from the sign for the Lira!).

Benedetto Cotrugli's 1458 treatise "Della mercatura e del mercante perfetto" contains the earliest-known description of a double-entry bookkeeping system, but his manuscript was not published until 1573.

Luca Pacioli, a Franciscan friar and collaborator of Leonardo da Vinci, codified the system in his mathematics textbook "Summa de arithmetica, geometria, proportioni et proportionalità" published in Venice in 1494. Pacioli is often called the "father of accounting" because he was the first to publish a detailed description of the double-entry system, thus enabling others to study and use it.

Johan de Witt was a financial wizard and wrote treatise on things like mathematical curves and annuities with Descartes.

In the latter part of the 17th century "writing schools" opened in England which also taught bookkeeping, so the merchant class could get educated workers. I bet they taught bookkeeping at Merchant Taylors. Maybe the grammar schools who were turning out gentlemen Latin scholars for Oxford and Cambridge did not -- but Warren and Cocke knew a debit from a credit. (You don't get to build those big country houses based on confusion.)

RSGII  •  Link

See the discussion on Prices in the encyclopedia to better understang how wealthy Pepys had become in a very short time. Or go to the site for calculators to convert to present day values his 4,000£ of liquid assets. Depending on how you measure his wealth, his 4,,000£ today could be worth from £0.6m to £7.6m to £13m, depending whether you use the real wage, the labor value or relative income to convert. And, of course, the basket of goods available to him didn’t include Mercedes cars or Anesthesiologists, but did include a lot of cheap labor, watermen, links boys, etc.
Happy New Year

David  •  Link

I thought the pound sign came from Latin Libra Pondo, a basic Roman measure of weight = approx 350 gms. of silver.

Harvey L  •  Link

I multiply Sam's pounds by 1000 to get NZ$... the values seem about right. Or around 500 for US$, STG or EUR. His pounds do seem to buy a lot more than the 130 x as on the official currency converters.
Perhaps because of the lack of technology toys like cars and having one's body repaired.

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