Wednesday 13 February 1666/67

Up, and by water to White Hall, where to the Duke of York, and there did our usual business; but troubled to see that, at this time, after our declaring a debt to the Parliament of 900,000l., and nothing paid since, but the debt increased, and now the fleete to set out; to hear that the King hath ordered but 35,000l. for the setting out of the fleete, out of the Poll Bill, to buy all provisions, when five times as much had been little enough to have done any thing to purpose. They have, indeed, ordered more for paying off of seamen and the Yards to some time, but not enough for that neither. Another thing is, the acquainting the Duke of York with the case of Mr. Lanyon, our agent at Plymouth, who has trusted us to 8000l. out of purse; we are not in condition, after so many promises, to obtain him a farthing, nor though a message was carried by Sir G. Carteret and Sir W. Coventry to the Commissioners of Prizes, that he might have 3000l. out of 20,000l. worth of prizes to be shortly sold there, that he might buy at the candle and pay for the goods out of bills, and all would [not] do any thing, but that money must go all another way, while the King’s service is undone, and those that trust him perish. These things grieve me to the heart. The Prince, I hear, is every day better and better. So away by water home, stopping at Michell’s, where Mrs. Martin was, and I there drank with them and whispered with Betty, who tells me all is well, but was prevented in something she would have said, her ‘marido venant’ just then, a news which did trouble me, and so drank and parted and home, and there took up my wife by coach, and to Mrs. Pierce’s, there to take her up, and with them to Dr. Clerke’s, by invitation, where we have not been a great while, nor had any mind to go now, but that the Dr., whom I love, would have us choose a day. Here was his wife, painted, and her sister Worshipp, a widow now and mighty pretty in her mourning. Here was also Mr. Pierce and Mr. Floyd, Secretary to the Lords Commissioners of Prizes, and Captain Cooke, to dinner, an ill and little mean one, with foul cloth and dishes, and everything poor. Discoursed most about plays and the Opera, where, among other vanities, Captain Cooke had the arrogance to say that he was fain to direct Sir W. Davenant in the breaking of his verses into such and such lengths, according as would be fit for musick, and how he used to swear at Davenant, and command him that way, when W. Davenant would be angry, and find fault with this or that note — but a vain coxcomb I perceive he is, though he sings and composes so well. But what I wondered at, Dr. Clerke did say that Sir W. Davenant is no good judge of a dramatick poem, finding fault with his choice of Henry the 5th, and others, for the stage, when I do think, and he confesses, “The Siege of Rhodes” as good as ever was writ. After dinner Captain Cooke and two of his boys to sing, but it was indeed both in performance and composition most plainly below what I heard last night, which I could not have believed. Besides overlooking the words which he sung, I find them not at all humoured as they ought to be, and as I believed he had done all he had sett. Though he himself do indeed sing in a manner as to voice and manner the best I ever heard yet, and a strange mastery he hath in making of extraordinary surprising closes, that are mighty pretty, but his bragging that he do understand tones and sounds as well as any man in the world, and better than Sir W. Davenant or any body else, I do not like by no means, but was sick of it and of him for it. He gone, Dr. Clerke fell to reading a new play, newly writ, of a friend’s of his; but, by his discourse and confession afterwards, it was his own. Some things, but very few, moderately good; but infinitely far from the conceit, wit, design, and language of very many plays that I know; so that, but for compliment, I was quite tired with hearing it. It being done, and commending the play, but against my judgment, only the prologue magnifying the happiness of our former poets when such sorry things did please the world as was then acted, was very good. So set Mrs. Pierce at home, and away ourselves home, and there to my office, and then my chamber till my eyes were sore at writing and making ready my letter and accounts for the Commissioners of Tangier to-morrow, which being done, to bed, hearing that there was a very great disorder this day at the Ticket Office, to the beating and bruising of the face of Carcasse very much. A foul evening this was to-night, and I mightily troubled to get a coach home; and, which is now my common practice, going over the ruins in the night, I rid with my sword drawn in the coach.


21 Annotations

Bradford  •  Link

No cash forthcoming, uncertain tidings from one's doxy, being bored to disgust by a self-congratulating singer and a would-be playwright, a dismaying dinner and dismal weather and riding home in the carriage at sword-poiont--- There are some days you just have to charge off to overhead.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the breaking of his verses into such and such lengths, according as would be fit for musick"

L*M note that Davenant had to convert *The Siege of Rhodes* into an opera in 1656 since plays were prohibited at the time, which made for some interesting alterations of meter for recitative.

***

"extraordinary surprising closes"

close = cadence (L&M Select Glossary)

cum salis grano  •  Link

follow the lack of money trail.

andy  •  Link

a widow now and mighty pretty in her mourning.

Sam sensing an opportunity in every crisis.

Robin Peters  •  Link

"I rid with my sword drawn in the coach" From school days many years past in rural Hampshire, would this be an alternative to the past participle Rode?
I certainly remember using it but being told it was not correct.

language hat  •  Link

In Sam's day (luckily for him and the English language) there had not yet developed the stifling idea that there must be only one "correct" form for everything. You could say "rode" or "rid" without anybody looking down on you. I would urge everyone to reject any attempts to convince them that the way they naturally speak their own language is "incorrect"; whoever tells you that wants either to reinforce their own sense of superiority or to sell you their "50 Ways to Use Words More Effectively" program.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...the acquainting the Duke of York with the case of Mr. Lanyon, our agent at Plymouth, who has trusted us to 8000l. out of purse; we are not in condition, after so many promises, to obtain him a farthing, nor though a message was carried by Sir G. Carteret and Sir W. Coventry to the Commissioners for Prizes, that he might have 3000l. out of 20,000l. worth of prizes to be shortly sold there, that he might buy at the candle and pay for the goods out of bills, and all would [not] do any thing, but that money must go all another way, while the King’s service is undone, and those that trust him perish."

Uneasy lies the head of a creditor to the Crown...

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"hearing that there was a very great disorder this day at the Ticket Office, to the beating and bruising of the face of Carcasse very much."

L&M say this incident has not been traced elsewhere but note there had been another riot on 29 January when rioting seamen advanced down the Strand on Whitehall. For Carkesse, see http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1667/02/16/?c=536…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I mightily troubled to get a coach home; and, which is now my common practice, going over the ruins in the night, I rid with my sword drawn in the coach."

L&M refer us to this letter from James Hickes to Joseph Williamson, 12 December 1666: 'For want of good watches, no one dares go in the ruins, after the close of the evening'. http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1666/12/12/?c=536… The police system of the parishes and wards had broken down from lack of men and organisation. In the summer of 1668 things improved, and the city ordred the watches to be reestablished, and to be paid for by the owners of new buildings: T.F. Reddaway, Rebuilding of London, p. 144. n. 3.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"hear that the King hath ordered but 35,000l. for the setting out of the fleete, out of the Poll Bill, to buy all provisions, when five times as much had been little enough to have done any thing to purpose."

L&M: In fact on 16 February a warrant for £426,000 was issued for this purpose: (35,000 was the number of seamen to be provided for). For the debt of £900.000, see https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1666/09/23/ and https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1666/09/23/#c545…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"They have, indeed, ordered more for paying off of seamen and the Yards to some time, but not enough for that neither. "

L&M: An order was made thisday for the paying or over £1 1/4 m, to cover wages, etc., for the past five years.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Another thing is, the acquainting the Duke of York with the case of Mr. Lanyon, our agent at Plymouth, who has trusted us to 8000l. out of purse; we are not in condition, after so many promises, to obtain him a farthing, nor though a message was carried by Sir G. Carteret and Sir W. Coventry to the Commissioners of Prizes, that he might have 3000l. out of 20,000l. worth of prizes to be shortly sold there, that he might buy at the candle and pay for the goods out of bills, and all would [not] do any thing, but that money must go all another way, while the King’s service is undone, and those that trust him perish."

L&M: Pepys, writing to Lanyon on 19 January, had promised to do his best for him: Shorthand Letters, pp. 88-9. For the sale of the prize goods, see https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1667/04/03/

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Dr. Clerke fell to reading a new play, newly writ, of a friend’s of his; but, by his discourse and confession afterwards, it was his own."

L&M: There is no record of his having published a play.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Dr. Clerke fell to reading a new play, newly writ, of a friend’s of his; but, by his discourse and confession afterwards, it was his own."

L&M: There is no record of his having published a play.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... the acquainting the Duke of York with the case of Mr. Lanyon, our agent at Plymouth, who has trusted us to 8000l. out of purse; we are not in condition, after so many promises, to obtain him a farthing, nor though a message was carried by Sir G. Carteret and Sir W. Coventry to the Commissioners for Prizes, that he might have 3000l. out of 20000l. worth of prizes to be shortly sold there, that he might buy at the candle and pay for the goods out of bills, and all would [not] do any thing, but that money must go all another way, while the King’s service is undone, and those that trust him perish."
and later
"took up my wife by coach, and to Mrs. Pierce’s, there to take her up, and with them to Dr. Clerke’s ... Here was his wife, painted, and her sister Worshipp, a widow now and mighty pretty in her mourning. Here was also Mr. Pierce and Mr. Floyd, Secretary to the Lords Commissioners of Prizes, and Captain Cooke, to dinner ..."

Having to be civil to Mr. Floyd, Secretary to the Lords Commissioners of Prizes, alone might have caused Pepys indigestion, never mind bad opera and play readings and painted wives.

Capt. Hogg has brought several prize ships into Plymouth. Apparently he turns them over to agent Lanyon for processing.

In January, Lanyon wrote explaining his need for operating capital, and Carteret and Coventry suggested to the Prize Commissioners that they release some goods immediately to raise the necessary money for Mr. Lanyon.

Today we hear the Commissioners have ruled that everything must be disposed of at the same time. And Pepys is unhappy as not only does the King look bad for not taking care of people working for him, but he uses the word 'perish' which sounds dire. (I smell Anthony Ashley-Cooper's influence here ... his actions show that he was doing everything he could to discredit Charles II at this time, and for years to come. Charles doesn't catch on for a decade or more.)

For what I think is the most telling of the Navy Board's efforts to work things out for agent Lanyon:

"... the Castle Tavern, where was and did come all our company, Sir W. Batten, [Sir] W. Pen, [Sir] R. Ford, and our Counsel Sir Ellis Layton, Walt Walker, Dr. Budd, Mr. Holder, and several others, and here we had a bad dinner of our preparing, and did discourse something of our business of our prizes, which was the work of the day."
https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1667/01/23/

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... to bed, hearing that there was a very great disorder this day at the Ticket Office, to the beating and bruising of the face of Carcasse very much.

L&M: An order was made this day for the paying or over £1,250,000 to cover wages, etc., for the past five years.

Not a moment too soon.

Robert Harneis  •  Link

SDH "I smell Anthony Ashley-Cooper's influence here ... his actions show that he was doing everything he could to discredit Charles II at this time, and for years to come."
During the Popish Plot he was secretly taking money from Louis XIV to make trouble.

john  •  Link

"I rid with my sword drawn in the coach."
Is there any record of Pepys having learnt swordplay? I wonder whether he had it on his lap or visibly upright and I wonder how sharp it was. (I am reminded of my stint in the GGHG Reserve, where I learnt to canter with drawn sword without lopping off my nose or the horse's ears.)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"I learnt to canter with drawn sword without lopping off my nose or the horse's ears."

A 17th century skill if ever there was one ... how do you train for that?

john  •  Link

SDS: Well, they gave us (blunt) swords and told us to follow the others. (I could ride so at least that part was under control, though my first experience with military saddles.) Swords were held upright with the hilt resting on a leg, held upright by careful placement of the little finger that caused a callus to form over time. Riding in formation was the most difficult part, actually. I was very glad that the horses knew what to do.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

WOW -- Now I will know what to look for. Depending on your pinkie, even with a callus, at a canter takes nerve. Did they replace the swords with sharp ones later on? And what's the difference between an English saddle and a military saddle? (I'm familiar with both English and Western.)

To keep this Pepysian, I should note military saddles in the 17th century were more like Western -- and their fighting horses more like our cart horses. Arabian horses were being introduced slowly, so John's experiences are probably echoes of the ceremonial activities they started in Charles II's time. Not that the horse guards didn't earn their keep:

Wednesday January 23 1666/67
We away, Mr. Pierce and I, on foot to his house, the women by coach.
In our way we find the Guards of horse in the street, and hear the occasion to be news that the seamen are in a mutiny, which put me into a great fright;

https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1667/01/23/#c548…

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