Saturday 29 June 1667

Up, having had many ugly dreams to-night of my father and my sister and mother’s coming to us, and meeting my wife and me at the gate of the office going out, they all in laced suits, and come, they told me, to be with me this May day. My mother told me she lacked a pair of gloves, and I remembered a pair of my wife’s in my chamber, and resolved she should have them, but then recollected how my mother come to be here when I was in mourning for her, and so thinking it to be a mistake in our thinking her all this while dead, I did contrive that it should be said to any that enquired that it was my mother-in-law, my wife’s mother, that was dead, and we in mourning for. This dream troubled me and I waked … These dreams did trouble me mightily all night. Up, and by coach to St. James’s, and there find Sir W. Coventry and Sir W. Pen above stairs, and then we to discourse about making up our accounts against the Parliament; and Sir W. Coventry did give us the best advice he could for us to provide for our own justification, believing, as everybody do, that they will fall heavily upon us all, though he lay all upon want of money, only a little, he says (if the Parliament be in any temper), may be laid upon themselves for not providing money sooner, they being expressly and industriously warned thereof by him, he says, even to the troubling them, that some of them did afterwards tell him that he had frighted them. He says he do prepare to justify himself, and that he hears that my Lord Chancellor, my Lord Arlington, the Vice Chamberlain and himself are reported all up and down the Coffee houses to be the four sacrifices that must be made to atone the people. Then we to talk of the loss of all affection and obedience, now in the seamen, so that all power is lost. He told us that he do concur in thinking that want of money do do the most of it, but that that is not all, but the having of gentlemen Captains, who discourage all Tarpaulins, and have given out that they would in a little time bring it to that pass that a Tarpaulin should not dare to aspire to more than to be a Boatswain or a gunner. That this makes the Sea Captains to lose their own good affections to the service, and to instil it into the seamen also, and that the seamen do see it themselves and resent it; and tells us that it is notorious, even to his bearing of great ill will at Court, that he hath been the opposer of gentlemen Captains; and Sir W. Pen did put in, and said that he was esteemed to have been the man that did instil it into Sir W. Coventry, which Sir W. Coventry did owne also, and says that he hath always told the Gentlemen Captains his opinion of them, and that himself who had now served to the business of the sea 6 or 7 years should know a little, and as much as them that had never almost been at sea, and that yet he found himself fitter to be a Bishop or Pope than to be a Sea-Commander, and so indeed he is. I begun to tell him of the experience I had of the great brags made by Sir F. Hollis the other day, and the little proof either of the command or interest he had in his men, which Sir W. Pen seconded by saying Sir Fr. Hollis had told him that there was not a pilot to be got the other day for his fire-ships, and so was forced to carry them down himself, which Sir W. Coventry says, in my conscience, he knows no more to do and understand the River no more than he do Tiber or Ganges. Thence I away with Sir W. Pen to White Hall, to the Treasury Chamber, but to no purpose, and so by coach home, and there to my office to business, and then home to dinner, and to pipe with my wife, and so to the office again, having taken a resolution to take a turn to Chatham to-morrow, indeed to do business of the King’s, but also to give myself the satisfaction of seeing the place after the Dutch have been here. I have sent to and got Creed to go with me by coach betimes to-morrow morning. After having done my business at the office I home, and there I found Coleman come again to my house, and with my wife in our great chamber, which vexed me, there being a bed therein. I staid there awhile, and then to my study vexed, showing no civility to the man. But he comes on a compliment to receive my wife’s commands into the country, whither he is going, and it being Saturday my wife told me there was no other room for her to bring him in, and so much is truth. But I staid vexed in my closet till by and by my cozen Thomas Pepys, of Hatcham, come to see me, and he up to my closet, and there sat talking an hour or two of the sad state of the times, whereof we did talk very freely, and he thinks nothing but a union of religious interests will ever settle us; and I do think that, and the Parliament’s taking the whole management of things into their hands, and severe inquisitions into our miscarriages; will help us. After we had bewailed ourselves and the kingdom very freely one to another (wherein I do blame myself for my freedom of speech to anybody), he gone, and Coleman gone also before, I to the office, whither Creed come by my desire, and he and I to my wife, to whom I now propose the going to Chatham, who, mightily pleased with it, sent for Mercer to go with her, but she could not go, having friends at home, which vexed my wife and me; and the poor wretch would have had anybody else to have gone, but I would like nobody else, so was contented to stay at home, on condition to go to Ispsum next Sunday, which I will do, and so I to the office to dispatch my business, and then home to supper with Creed, and then Creed and I together to bed, very pleasant in discourse. This day talking with Sir W. Batten, he did give me an account how ill the King and Duke of York was advised to send orders for our frigates and fire- ships to come from Gravesend, soon as ever news come of the Dutch being returned into the river, wherein no seamen, he believes, was advised with; for, says he, we might have done just as Warwicke did, when he, W. Batten; come with the King and the like fleete, in the late wars, into the river: for Warwicke did not run away from them, but sailed before them when they sailed, and come to anchor when they come to anchor, and always kept in a small distance from them: so as to be able to take any opportunity of any of their ships running aground, or change of wind, or any thing else, to his advantage. So might we have done with our fire- ships, and we have lost an opportunity of taking or burning a good ship of their’s, which was run aground about Holehaven, I think he said, with the wind so as their ships could not get her away; but we might have done what we would with her, and, it may be, done them mischief, too, with the wind. This seems very probable, and I believe was not considered.

19 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Filling in the ellipsis

"This dream troubled me and I waked. Then I dreamed that I had great pain of the stone in making water, and that once I looked upon my yard [ i.e., penis ] in making water at the steps before my door, and there took hold of the end of a thing and pulled it out, and it was a turd; and it came into my mind that I was in the same condition with my aunt Pepys, my uncle Roberts wife. And by and by, on the like occasion, I pulled out something and flung it on the ground -- it looked like slime or snot, and presently it swelled and turned into a gray kind of Bird, and I would have taken it into my hand and it run from me to the corner of the door, going into the garden in the entry by Sir J. Mennes's; and so I waked."

L&M text.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Anglesey to Ormond
Written from: London
Date: 29 June 1667

In this time of great distraction & want, the writer is made Treasurer of the Royal Navy, with Sir George Carteret as Vice-Treasurer & Treasurer-at-war, in his stead. ... It is of some disquiet to him to proceed so far without his Grace's advice & approbation ... He beseeches the Duke not to think him less his servant because more out of the way of receiving favours & obligations, the continuance of which is hoped towards the writer's son, now about to hasten into Ireland ...…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Arlington to Ormond
Written from: Whitehall
Date: 29 June 1667

Late letters from Breda and from Holland give great probabilities of a speedy Peace. ... Yet the enemy is again in the River, with new recruits of landsmen and fireships ... De Witt, it is said, ... "against the opinion of the States General, and now even [of] his own Province of Holland, pusheth the Fleet upon some new undertakings only to disorder the Treaty". ...

Sir William Coventry to Ormond
Written from: [London]
Date: 29 June 1667

A further report of measures taken, or a contemplation, for the security of the Irish Coast. ...

Is in hope that there is a good provision for securing the ships expected from the West Indies, now that the French Fleet is gone back to Brest.…

JWB  •  Link

"...had many ugly dreams to-night..."

How much of Elizabeth's tea do you suppose he drank yesterday?

tg  •  Link

Then I dreamed that I had great pain of the stone in making water, and that once I looked upon my yard [ i.e., penis ] in making water at the steps before my door, and there took hold of the end of a thing and pulled it out, and it was a turd ...

Oh my, we are really plumbing the depths of freudian dream analysis here.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Great conversation between Coventry, Penn and Pepys, providing insight into Pepys' later moves against "gentlemen captains." For all Pepys' enmity against Penn, he owes him a debt of gratitude, given that he was the originator of this idea.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"After we had bewailed ourselves and the kingdom very freely one to another (wherein I do blame myself for my freedom of speech to anybody)..."

Lets hope Cousin Tom is discreet...And not seeking the position of Clerk of the Acts.

Of course our boy then turns round and has a deal of discourse with Creed of all people.

"And then Mr. Creed, what did Mr. Pepys say?"

"Well, my Lord...Mr. Pepys then said that the total ruin of the kingdom was imminent and could be laid at the feet of the officers of the Navy and he could see Parliament turning them all out, including himself."

"Would see, gladly...If to the good of the Nation..That's what I said!" Sam cries. "Oh, John...Richard Rich never did a crueler betrayal."

Hmmn...Creed, new Clerk of the Acts...Ponders...

Rich did end as Chancellor... "And my lord, I haven't told you yet what Chancellor Clarendon was saying the other day."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

What "commands into the country" would Bess have for the intriguing Mr. Coleman, I wonder? I suppose a request to send greetings to Lady Sandwich? Or a wish list of fruits and vegetables for Coleman to send them at the Pepys' expense?

Or, after you gut the old man, you'll find the gold buried in the front yard. I'll meet you on the road to Dover?

Or... "My father's plans for the improved submersible, Mr. Coleman. One copy must reach Mr. Evelyn and his team without fail before the French fleet joins the Dutch."

"Without fail, Mrs. P."


Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...meeting my wife and me at the gate of the office going out, they all in laced suits, and come, they told me, to be with me this May day."

"Brazil...Where hearts were entertaining June..."


"...We stood beneath an amber moon..."



"Wha...? Bess? Where's mum?"

"Ummn...? Sam? You're due at St. James to meet the Sir Williams C and P."

"All right, all right."

"You'll have to fly."

"Right, right." unfurls wings of flying harness and moves to window, perching for take-off, awaiting updraft.

"Can't you take me flying with you?" wistful Bess. "You know I'd love to fly with you."

"Keep up your piping, my poor wretch, and we'll see..." Sam pats head, and turning, leaps, wings gently carrying him off.

"And softly whispered...Someday soon..."

"Sammm...Take me..." call...

"Bess? Bess? Are you dreaming?" Sam looks over.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"when he, W. Batten; come with the King and the like fleete, in the late wars, into the river"

L&M explain that this was in late July 1648, when Rupert’s royalist ship met Warwick’s parliamentary ship in the mouth of the Thames. Warwick’s evasion and a storm precluded a battle. Batten was said to have failed to attack a small squadron on its way from Portsmouth at night, but was later cleared of any charges.…

The tale was told 4 June 1664:

Australian Susan  •  Link

"...and it being Saturday my wife told me there was no other room for her to bring him in, and so much is truth. ..."


Why Saturday? Was this because of cleaning taking place in other rooms?

Mary  •  Link

I wondered about this too, AS.

Possibly Coleman had been told that the Pepyses live 'at the Navy Office' and would have looked for them there. However, Sam is not in the office itself today. He's been out and about (St. James's and Whitehall). Thus the porter may have redirected Coleman to the Peyps's domestic quarters. Elizabeth would hardly have been able to take him across to Sam's office and so received him in their 'great chamber.'

[It's not unusual in the 17th century for an finely furnished bed/couch to be placed in the reception room of a house, so that might answer one of the questions raised by the passage].

There is still the question of whether the office itself would be entirely unoccupied on a Saturday. (This is one conclusion that one might draw from the wording "it being Saturday"). I would not have expected the five-day working week to have been in operation at this early date and Sam himself undoubtedly works in the office at all sorts of hours, Saturdays and Sundays included. I wonder whether any other reader has noticed Sam mentioning other people being in the office on Saturdays, or whether the clerks etc. are only required to attend then when specifically briefed to do so? Does Sam give them the morning off when he knows that he will not require their services? Working hours are hardly rigidly fixed.

cum salis grano  •  Link

Sunday was the only day of rest, so that the 'prentices could run wild after service..

I'm sure there be a few that still remember the 60/54 hr work week, then 48 hr work week, when we could get groceries before 1pm closing on a Saturday, not every one had banking hours, 10 to 4 and a "little wife" at home ready with a hot meal.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"done my business at the office I home, and there I found Coleman "

L&M: The army officer Mrs Pepys had met on her recent journey from Brampton.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

L&M: Gentlemen captains had been introduced into the navy in the 1630s to command the fighting forces on the board, and because some thought that it was improper to have the King's ships commanded by men of mean birth. But gentlemen usually knew nothing of navigation, and friction easily developed between them and the 'plain sea-Captains' (or 'tarpaulins') trained in the merchant ships.

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