Tuesday 8 May 1666

Up, and to the office all the morning. At noon dined at home, my wife’s cheek bad still. After dinner to the office again and thither comes Mr. Downing, the anchor-smith, who had given me 50 pieces in gold the last month to speake for him to Sir W. Coventry, for his being smith at Deptford; but after I had got it granted to him, he finds himself not fit to go on with it, so lets it fall. So has no benefit of my motion. I therefore in honour and conscience took him home the money, and, though much to my grief, did yet willingly and forcibly force him to take it again, the poor man having no mind to have it. However, I made him take it, and away he went, and I glad to have given him so much cause to speake well of me. So to my office again late, and then home to supper to a good lobster with my wife, and then a little to my office again, and so to bed.


19 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

John Evelyn's Diary

8 To Queenborow where finding the Richmond fregate I sailed to the B[o]uy of the Noore to my L: Gen: & Prince Rupert where was the Rendezvous of the most glorious Fleete in the World, now preparing to meete the Hollander: having received orders & settled my buisinesse there, I return’d on the 9th to Chattham at night: next day I went to visit my Co: Hales at a sweetely watred place near Bochton at Chilston: The next morning to Leeds-Castle, once a famous hold &c. now hired by me of my Lord Culpeper for a Prison: here I flowed the drie moate and made a new draw bridge, brought also Spring Water into the Court of the Castle to an old fountaine, & tooke order for the repaires:

http://www.geocities.com/Paris/LeftBank/1914/ed...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Decent (and no doubt, wise) thing to do, Sam.

Lawrence  •  Link

That's a lot of money?

"month to speake for him to Sir W. Coventry, for his being smith at Deptford; but after I had got it granted to him, he finds himself not fit to go on with it, so lets it fall. So has no benefit of my motion. I therefore in honour and conscience took him home the money, and, though much to my grief, did yet willingly and forcibly force him to take it again, the poor man having no mind to have it. However, I made him take it, and away he went, and I glad to have given him so much cause to speake well of me"

How much money? does Sam keep in his House, and

where? well they never had paper money, so I wonder what that weighed when he pushed it on to him?

Paul Chapin  •  Link

George Downing was a man of many parts, but being an anchor-smith was surely not one of them. The link between this Mr.Downing and Sir George is unwarranted.

cgs  •  Link

"...Mr. Downing, the anchor-smith..."
Downing be not the one of street no 10 but another character, THE Downing , a, be a tight wad, b, knows the ways and means of discretion, also Sam be still in Awe of Sir George. This guy be one that wroughts iron for ships to weigh anchor.
A smithy of the old forge, not the forger of documents secret.

Mark Peaty [aka Xodarap]  •  Link

"A smithy of the old forge, not the forger of documents secret."

lol ... Mr Salty does it again ...

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"and I glad to have given him so much cause to speake well of me"
soliloquy
Mr Downing: Samuel Pepys is the nicest kickback taker that I have seen in all my life.

JWB  •  Link

From "The Big Anchor Project":

"16th-17th century anchors
The earliest drawings of an anchor with details of its weight and dimensions appears in “Fragments of Ancient Shipwrightry” attributed to Matthew Baker, dated to the late 16th or early 17th Century. Most anchors during this period had curved arms, but as larger anchors were required the straight arm anchor was introduced to English vessels. The flukes were generally the shape of equilateral triangles and half the length of the arms. The anchor ring was slightly smaller diameter than the fluke. The anchor stock was roughly the same length as the shank, made from timbers bound with iron hoops. Wooden pegs or treenails were used to secure the timbers in the stock, which was straight on the top and tapered on the other three sides.

In 1627 Captain John Smith published “A Sea Grammer2 which provided a list of the different types of anchors carried by ships at that time. It listed:

•The kedger anchor - the smallest of the anchors used in calm weather
•The stream anchor – only a little larger used in an easy tide/stream
•The bow anchor – larger - 4 in total
•The sheet anchor – the largest and heaviest of all used in emergencies
Anchor weight was in proportion to the size of the ship. A ship of 500 tons would have a sheet anchor weight 2000 pounds of 907 kg’s."

http://www.biganchorproject.com/index.php?optio...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Parliamentary Investigating Committee...

"So, Mr. Downing...?"

"Mr. Speaker! Motion to note this is not me." Sir George rises.

"So noted, Sir George. This is not you, sir."

"Mr. Downing. As to your dealings with Mr. Samuel Pepys."

"Generous and fair, sir. An ever-upright man..."

Phew...Sam mops brow. Another bullet dodged...God bless Dennis Gauden and my favorite smithy...

"Why do you know, sir...He actually returned the 50 pieces I'd given him."

Ummn...Ok, ok...Still not disaster...Sam moves in chair...

"He refused a bribe from you, sir?"

"Oh, no. But when he couldn't do anything for me, he returned the money. Can you imagine?"

Dryly...Eye to the newly sweating Pepys. "No, Mr. Downing. Honesty in bribery is something rare."

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Paul Chapin on 9 May 2009 posted:

"George Downing was a man of many parts, but being an anchor-smith was surely not one of them. The link between this Mr.Downing and Sir George is unwarranted."

The link has now been fixed; Mr. Downing the anchor-smith is John.

Marquess  •  Link

Very good that Sam handed back that money, a man of less scruple would have kept it.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Queenborow

My guess is this was Queenborough, a small town on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, South East England.

Queenborough is two miles (3 km) south of Sheerness. It grew as a port near the Thames Estuary at the westward entrance to the Swale where it joins the River Medway.

Queenborough Harbour offers moorings between the Thames and Medway. It is possible to land at Queenborough on any tide.

Matthias Falconer of Brabant established the first copperas factory in England at Queenborough in 1579.

King Charles I had the town reincorporated; at that time the population was chiefly employed in oyster fishery. However the medieval fort, having protected the Swale and Medway estuaries for 300 years, never realized its function as a garrison, and has no military history.

After being taken by Parliamentarians in 1650, after the Civil War, and being considered unsuitable for repair, being of "no practical use" it was demolished during the interregnum.

Charles II must have regretted this decision

SPOILER

because in 1667, the Dutch captured the Sheerness fort then under construction, and invaded Queenborough. The occupation lasted only a few days. The Dutch caused widespread panic, but were unable to maintain their offensive, and withdrew after capturing the Royal Charles and burning many other ships in the Thames and Medway.

Following this raid, belated attention was paid to improving the naval defenses of the Medway, which at length helped strengthen the economy of Queenborough and Sheppey.

50 years later Daniel Defoe described Queenborough as "a miserable and dirty fishing town (with) the chief traders ... alehouse keepers and oyster catchers" because by then the fort and harbor had been completed at Sheerness, replacing Queenborough by being better positioned at the mouth of the Medway and better able to handle the larger ships of the 18th century.

However, this is where Nelson learned to sail as a child.

For more information, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queenborough

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

John Evelyn's 'cousin' was Edward Hales who married on 22 May 1656, Elizabeth Evelyn, the daughter of Sir John Evelyn MP of Lee Place, Godstone, Surrey. So technically it seems to be Mrs. Hales who is his cousin.

(Her father, Sir John MP, was a Presbyterian who reluctantly supported Parliament in the Civil War; but regarded Charles I as ‘the best of men’, so was secluded at Pride’s Purge. He was returned for Bletchingley in 1660, but he was not active in the Convention Parliament. He was elected repeatedly until he died. He was buried at Godstone on 18 Jan. 1664, leaving an estate of over £1,400 p.a. to his eldest son, who had been created a baronet at the Restoration.)

Chilston Park is a country house in Boughton Malherbe, near Maidstone, Kent. Started in the 15th century, it is a two-storey, red-brick building with an attic floor in the roof. It was begun in as a courtyard house and was altered in each of the subsequent three centuries.

The property belonged to the Hoese or Hussey family in the 13th century, who held it until 1545, when it was sold to John Parkhurst.

His descendant, Sir William Parkhurst, sold Chilston Park to Richard Northwood of Thanet, and it passed through several owners before becoming the property of Edward Hales in 1650.

Edward Hales [1630-1696] was briefly MP for Hythe in 1685 and 1689. When he died, his daughters sold Chilston Park in 1698 to Elizabeth Hamilton, widow of James Hamilton and mother of James Hamilton, 6th Earl of Abercorn.

Our John Evelyn's father's name was Richard, and I believe he had a brother named John Evelyn. Whether this is the connection I have not concluded in my poking around this evening.

From: https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volum...
and http://www.gutenberg.org/files/41218/41218.txt
and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chilston_Park

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Pride's Purge was an event that took place in December 1648, during the Second English Civil War, when troops of the New Model Army under the command of Colonel Thomas Pride forcibly removed from the Long Parliament all those who were not supporters of the Grandees in the New Model Army and the Independents. Some have called it a coup d'état.[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pride%27s_Purge

James Morgan  •  Link

I'm a little surprised at Pepy's generosity towards John Downing. Pepys had gone out on a limb to recommend him to Coventry; it must be a little embarrassing to have to go back and say "Sorry but my man can't deliver". Bribery there may be, but having gotten the patronage you were expected to perform.

Tonyel  •  Link

Possibly John Downing was experienced in making anchors for fishing smacks and other small boats but realised he was out of his depth (sorry!) when it came to securing a warship. I respect Sam's decision to repay the bribe - it shows a moral sensibility in a wicked world and is also good politics. Word would have got around that Mr Pepys is 'open for business' but he does play it straight.

john  •  Link

What we today call "bribes" and "kickbacks" were not regarded as unethical in Pepys's day but the usual way of securing positions -- a sort of direct monetary lobbying.

john  •  Link

Further to the above, Pepys probably saw this as refunding Downing's fee because services were not forthcoming to the King.

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