Tuesday 2 October 1666

Up, and am sent for to Sir G. Carteret, and to him, and there he tells me how our lists are referred to a Sub-committee to consider and examine, and that I am ordered to be there this afternoon. So I away thence to my new bookbinder to see my books gilding in the backs, and then to White Hall to the House, and spoke to Sir W. Coventry, where he told me I must attend the Committee in the afternoon, and received some hints of more work to do. So I away to the ’Chequer, and thence to an alehouse, and found Mr. Falconbridge, and agreed for his kinswoman to come to me. He says she can dress my wife, and will do anything we would have her to do, and is of a good spirit and mighty cheerful. He is much pleased therewith, and so we shall be. So agreed for her coming the next week. So away home, and eat a short dinner, and then with Sir W. Pen to White Hall, and do give his boy my book of papers to hold while he went into the Committee Chamber in the Inner Court of Wards, and I walked without with Mr. Slingsby, of the Tower, who was there, and who did in walking inform me mightily in several things; among others, that the heightening or lowering of money is only a cheat, and do good to some particular men, which, if I can but remember how, I am now by him fully convinced of. Anon Sir W. Pen went away, telling me that Sir W. Coventry that was within had told him that the fleete is all come into the buoy of the Nore, and that he must hasten down to them, and so went away, and I into the Committee Chamber before the Committee sat, and there heard Birch discourse highly and understandingly about the Navy business and a proposal made heretofore to farm the Navy; but Sir W. Coventry did abundantly answer him, and is a most excellent person. By and by the Committee met, and I walked out, and anon they rose and called me in, and appointed me to attend a Committee of them to-morrow at the office to examine our lists. This put me into a mighty fear and trouble; they doing it in a very ill humour, methought. So I away and called on my Lord Bruncker to desire him to be there to-morrow, and so home, having taken up my wife at Unthanke’s, full of trouble in mind to think what I shall be obliged to answer, that am neither fully fit, nor in any measure concerned to take the shame and trouble of this office upon me, but only from the inability and folly of the Comptroller that occasions it. When come home I to Sir W. Pen’s, to his boy, for my book, and there find he hath it not, but delivered it to the doorekeeper of the Committee for me. This, added to my former disquiet, made me stark mad, considering all the nakedness of the office lay open in papers within those covers. I could not tell in the world what to do, but was mad on all sides, and that which made me worse Captain Cocke was there, and he did so swear and curse at the boy that told me. So Cocke, Griffin, and the boy with me, they to find the housekeeper of the Parliament, Hughes, while I to Sir W. Coventry, but could hear nothing of it there. But coming to our rendezvous at the Swan Taverne, in King Streete, I find they have found the housekeeper, and the book simply locked up in the Court. So I staid and drank, and rewarded the doore-keeper, and away home, my heart lighter by all this, but to bed very sad notwithstanding, in fear of what will happen to-morrow upon their coming.

16 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"do give his boy my book of papers to hold while he went into the Committee Chamber in the Inner Court of Wards"

Court of Wards

"The Court of Wards and Liveries was a court established during the reign of Henry VIII in England. Its purpose was to administer a system of feudal dues; but as well as the revenue collection, the court was also responsible for wardship and livery issues....The Court was formally abolished by the Tenures Abolition Act 1660 (12 Charles II c. 24)."

Pepys beheld the Court dispatching business in early 1659/60

Thereafter the Inner Court of Wards was apparently a place within Whitehall Palace.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Why, Samuel...What could there possibly be within those pages that should occasion such panic?

Sounds like our hero's love of detailed order in his work came close to nailing him. Rather like what might happen if Bess ever learns shorthand...

"On the one hand, Sam'l...I really must commend your commitment to honesty in your Journal."

That's good...Thinks a nervous Sam eyeing Bess seated with Diary in lap.

"On the other hand...Please don't move again, I don't want to have to shoot you before I'm finished...I really have to express my disappointment in you, dearest."

Mr. Gunning  •  Link

" that the heightening or lowering of money is only a cheat"

Can anyone explain this please?

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

What a fantastically written entry -- full of drama, wonderfully paced and realized. Almost written like a serial ... a complete story today, with its own resolution, but what will happen tomorrow regarding the bigger story? Tune in, same time, same Web site, to find out!

CGS  •  Link

I dothe think he dothe mean deceive or deception;
Some previous uses, from out right defrauding the King to pulling the wool over ones eyes.

SP use:
In my office, my repute and understanding good, especially with the Duke and Mr. Coventry; only the rest of the officers do rather envy than love me, I standing in most of their lights, specially Sir W. Batten, whose cheats I do daily oppose to his great trouble, though he appears mighty kind and willing to keep friendship with me, while Sir J. Minnes, like a dotard, is led by the nose by him.
where I heard the best story of a cheate intended by a Master of a ship, who had borrowed twice his money upon the bottomary, and as much more insured upon his ship and goods as they were worth,

to remove the inconveniences his ships are put to by denial of pratique; which is a thing that is now-a-days made use of only as a cheat, for a man may buy a bill of health for a piece of eight, and my enemy may agree with the Intendent of the Sante for ten pieces of eight or so; that he shall not give me a bill of health, and so spoil me in my design, whatever it be.

CGS  •  Link

1. An ESCHEAT; property which falls to the lord of the fee by way of forfeit, fine, or lapse. Obs.
c1375 ..
2. Any product of conquest or robbery; booty, spoil. Obs. (With quot. 1592 cf. 3.)
1566 ..
1610 {emem} Camden's Brit. II. 144 They suppose, that a cheat or booty is sent unto them from God as his gift.

3. Thieves' Cant. According to Randall Holme, orig. A stolen thing (cf. quot. 1592 in 2); but as early as Harman's date (1567) used in general sense ‘thing, article’, usually preceded by some descriptive word. the cheat (= nubbing-cheat, topping-cheat, treyning-cheat): the gallows. (Cf. the Shakespeare passage, 1611.) Obs.
1567 ..
4. a. The action of cheating or defrauding; deception, fraud. Obs.
1641 ...
b. A fraud, deception, trick, imposition. to put a cheat on: to deceive, impose upon (arch.).
1648 Eikon Bas. 28 Which have no cloak or cheat of Religion to impose upon themselves or others. 1650 FULLER Pisgah I. vii. 18 The Gibeonites (who put a new cheat on the Israelites). 1690 Sc. Pasquils (1868) 293 Those who live by cheats and quirks.
5. a. Applied to a person.

¶In the following early instance, the sense is uncertain: it may be = CHEATER 4, persons used as decoy.
a1559 DOLMAN in Mirr. Mag. (1563) Nja, (Ld. Hastings says) Shore's wife was my nyce cheate, The wholye whore, and eke the wyly peate.

b. One who cheats; a swindler.
1664 BUTLER Hud. II. i. 307 Cheats to play with those still aim, Who do not understand the game.

1671 HEAD & KIRKMAN (title) The English Rogue Described..a complete

History of the most Eminent Cheats of both sexes.
c. A deceiver, an impostor.
1687 T. BROWN Saints in Uproar Wks. 1730 I. 80 Own yourself and the rest of your sisterhood to be cheats.

6. Dice or ? false dice. Obs.
7. (See quots.) Obs.
1688 R. HOLME Armoury III. 96/1 A..kind of Waistcoats are called Chates, because they are to be seen rich and gaudy before, when all the back part is no such thing. Ibid. III. 258/1 Such Gallants wear not Cheats or half Sleeves, but..their Wastcoats are the same clear throughout. 1690 B. E. Dict. Cant. Crew, Cheats,..also Wristbands or sham Sleeves worn for true, or whole ones.
[Derivation uncertain. Not in actual use since 17th c.]

cheat n2
[Derivation uncertain. Not in actual use since 17th c.]

Wheaten bread of the second quality, made of flour more coarsely sifted than that used for MANCHET, the finest quality. Comb. cheat-bread, -loaf.
c1450 ...
1616 CHAPMAN Batrachom. 3 Their purest cheat, Thrice boulted, kneaded, and subdued in past. 1655 MOUFET & BENN. Health's Improv. (1746) 339 Our finest Manchet is made without Leaven, which maketh Cheat-Bread to be the lighter..and also the more wholesome.

cheat, v.
[ME. chete, aphetic f. achete (ACHEAT), phonetic variant of eschete, ESCHEAT.]

1. trans. To escheat, confiscate. Obs.
c1440 Promp. Parv. 73 Chetyn, confiscor, fisco.

2. To defraud; to deprive of by deceit.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Mr. G, I read the passage about "raising and lowering of money" as a precursor to monetarist economics. I think Mr. Slingsby may have some intuition that the king has ways of manipulating the currency supply, and that these are used to further his own purposes and the purposes of those whom he favors. I like Sam's reaction - I'm convinced, now if I could only remember how the argument goes.

Bryan M  •  Link

” that the heightening or lowering of money is only a cheat”

Henry Slingsby was master of the mint and one of his concerns was the difference between the face value of coins and their metallic vaue (silver or gold content). He proposed what is now the generally accepted solution in 1661, however it was not adopted for nealry two centuries.

The book review at the webpage below mentions Slingsby and provides a good overview of the problem and why it was important.


Michael Robinson  •  Link

"The book review at the web page below ..."

The site appears to be user/password protected from access by a user based in the the US. Think this an open link to the review in the 'Cato Journal' Bryan M. referenced above:

Leland B Yeager review: Thomas J. Sargent, François R. Velde 'The Big Problem of Small Change' Princeton: Princeton U.P., 2002


The book text is available also and the chapter most directly relevant to Slingsby [16 England Stumbles towards the Solution, pp. 261-291] is available as part of the preview:


A. De Araujo  •  Link

"that the heightening or lowering of money is only a cheat,and do good to some particular men,which,if I can but remember how"
Is he referring to the "money supply"?

CGS  •  Link

Inflation was in vogue, the daily bread was costing more, thus gold/silver had to buy more with less purity.
They stopped the the man with the knife from paring, now it seems it be the government's turn to get more for the buck.
Dilution of gold is always popular until caught out.

Wedding rings be now 8 carat when they be one time 18-20.

Samuell lets us in on the machinations of the high table with his peeping.

CGS  •  Link

Where ever the money be, there be some one looking for ways to get it into their pocket with or without the blessing of the law.

Talk about skimming , house be up in arms about loyalist not getting their monies, nice list of characters finding ways of failing to hand it over the rightful receivers.

Some one is not looking after the powder and ammo,
[no IEDS]

"... Bill to prevent the Imbezlement of the Stores of Powder and Ammunition:..."

Second Reading

Gerald Berg  •  Link

"Stark mad... I could not tell in the world what to do..."

Unusual formulation to a now classic turn of phrase.

Even if one could tell the world what to do wouldn't it amount to the same result. Zip! Chuck 2 excepted to some degree.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"When come home I to Sir W. Pen’s, to his boy, for my book, and there find he hath it not, but delivered it to the doorekeeper of the Committee for me. This, added to my former disquiet, made me stark mad, considering all the nakedness of the office lay open in papers within those covers. I could not tell in the world what to do, but was mad on all sides, and that which made me worse Captain Cocke was there, and he did so swear and curse at the boy that told me. "

Further evidence of keeping double books ... the official ones you show to the auditors, and a second set which keep track of the same items, but with "commissions" expected, promised, paid and delinquent clearly denoted.

This was the second set ... the ones that would get them all imprisoned in the Tower, Mr. Cocke included.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Mind you, Capt. Cocke was quite familiar with double bookkeeping. Some day I'll check back and see if there's a hint that Cocke taught Pepys how to do it.

As the from L&M Companion tells us: As Treasurer of the Commission for Sick and Wounded Seaman (1665-7) Capt. George Cocke ran into trouble with his accounts and had to face trial in 1670. There are several indications in the diary of his being regarded as untrustworthy.

Paying people realistic salaries is a good idea. This society was set up on the expectation that everyone cheated. The problem came when you cheated too much.

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