Saturday 21 July 1666

Up and to the office, where all the morning sitting. At noon walked in the garden with Commissioner Pett (newly come to towne), who tells me how infinite the disorders are among the commanders and all officers of the fleete. No discipline: nothing but swearing and cursing, and every body doing what they please; and the Generalls, understanding no better, suffer it, to the reproaching of this Board, or whoever it will be. He himself hath been challenged twice to the field, or something as good, by Sir Edward Spragge and Captain Seymour. He tells me that captains carry, for all the late orders, what men they please; demand and consume what provisions they please. So that he fears, and I do no less, that God Almighty cannot bless us while we keep in this disorder that we are in: he observing to me too, that there is no man of counsel or advice in the fleete; and the truth is, the gentlemen captains will undo us, for they are not to be kept in order, their friends about the King and Duke, and their own house, is so free, that it is not for any person but the Duke himself to have any command over them. He gone I to dinner, and then to the office, where busy all the afternoon. At night walked in the garden with my wife, and so I home to supper and to bed. Sir W. Pen is gone down to Sheernesse to-day to see things made ready against the fleete shall come in again, which makes Pett mad, and calls him dissembling knave, and that himself takes all the pains and is blamed, while he do nothing but hinder business and takes all the honour of it to himself, and tells me plainly he will fling, up his commission rather than bear it.

10 Annotations

Mr. Gunning  •  Link

"which makes Pett mad"

Modern British English: Mad = insane.

American English: Mad = very angry.

Pepys English: Mad = very angry.

tg  •  Link

Very angry indeed. And so Sam lapses back to his old way of thinking about Sir Pen as that dissembling knave.

cgs  •  Link

"...the truth is, the gentlemen captains will undo us,..."

cgs  •  Link

accent vs action

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"captains carry...what men they please; demand and consume what provisions they please."

L&M note that the Lord Admiral -- the Duke of York -- had ordered the Navy Board to remedy such abuses 20 February; but what's a Commissioner of the Navy (Pett) or a mere Surveyor-General of Victualling (Pepys) to do about these supernumeraries?

Mary  •  Link

"nothing but swearing and cursing"

Perhaps worth noting that during the years of the Commonwealth blaspheming and the utterance of idle oaths were regarded very gravely indeed and could attract serious punishment. Pett may well feel more offended by such behaviour than we immediately appreciate.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Great entry -- full of reasons for the reforms that Sam eventually will institute when he's in charge.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Pett is in a pet.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

JWB  •  Link


"London was repeatedly besieged by the Danes. With the hope of capturing the rich and unrifled prize, their fleets lay below the city for many months together.1 Their stations were at Deptford, "the deep fiord;" at Greenwich, the "green reach;" and at Woolwich, the "hill reach,"2 so called apparently from its being overhung by the conspicuous landmark of Shooter's Hill. The spits and headlands which mark the navigation along the Thames and the adjacent coasts, almost all bear characteristic Norse names—such as the Foreness,the WHITENESS, SHELLNESS, SHEERNESS,..."
"Words and Places: Or, Etymological Illustrations of History, Ethnology and Geography" By Isaac Taylor p109

Phoenix  •  Link

"... which makes Pett mad, and calls him dissembling knave, and that himself takes all the pains and is blamed ..."

And Pett is somewhat of a prophet as well. As for Penn haven't we all met this kind of character - friendly, generous, seemingly incapable of holding a grudge and shrewd - always aware of how the wind is blowing?

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