Monday 5 August 1667

Up, and with Sir W. Batten in the morning to St. James’s, where we did our ordinary business with the Duke of York, where I perceive they have taken the highest resolution in the world to become good husbands, and to retrench all charge; and to that end we are commanded to give him an account of the establishment in the seventh year of the late King’s reign, and how offices and salaries have been increased since; and I hope it will end in the taking away some of our Commissioners, though it may be to the lessening of some of our salaries also. After done with the Duke of York, and coming out through his dressing-room, I there spied Signor Francisco tuning his gittar, and Monsieur de Puy with him, who did make him play to me, which he did most admirably — so well as I was mightily troubled that all that pains should have been taken upon so bad an instrument. Walked over the Park with Mr. Gawden, end with him by coach home, and to the Exchange, where I hear the ill news of our loss lately of four rich ships, two from Guinea, one from Gallipoly, all with rich oyles; and the other from Barbadoes, worth, as is guessed, 80,000l.. But here is strong talk, as if Harman had taken some of the Dutch East India ships, but I dare not yet believe it, and brought them into Lisbon.1 Home, and dined with my wife at Sir W. Pen’s, where a very good pasty of venison, better than we expected, the last stinking basely, and after dinner he and my wife and I to the Duke of York’s house, and there saw “Love Trickes, or the School of Compliments;” a silly play, only Miss [Davis’s] dancing in a shepherd’s clothes did please us mightily. Thence without much pleasure home and to my Office, so home, to supper, and to bed. My wife mighty angry with Nell, who is turned a very gossip, and gads abroad as soon as our backs are turned, and will put her away tomorrow, which I am not sorry for.


21 Annotations

nix  •  Link

"My wife mighty angry with Nell" --

Coming on the heels of the Knipp episode, I assumed this was a reference to Nell Gwynne. This Nell must not be much of a cook, or Samuel would be more cautious about canning her over a bit of belowstairs gossip. Especially after Penn's spoiled venison, he has to appreciate the value of good kitchen staff.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Nell's gadding about appears to have been far more than "a bit of belowstairs gossip": her stories have evidently come back to the Pepyses from outside friendlies.

Stefan  •  Link

Hahaha - he still hasn't got over the last venison! Wife still in a mood, it seems.

cum salis grano  •  Link

"...two from Guinea, one from Gallipoly, all with rich oyles; and the other from Barbadoes, worth, as is guessed, 80,000l...."
oyles from Galipoly? { en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallipoli }

Was this oil from Baku or be it olive,

Bradford  •  Link

"only Miss [Davis’s] dancing in a shepherd’s clothes did please us mightily": try divining from this what the rest of the entertainment must have been like. How does one dress like a shepherd, other than carrying a pastoral crook?

"I there spied Signor Francisco tuning his gittar, and Monsieur de Puy with him, who did make him play to me, which he did most admirably — so well as I was mightily troubled that all that pains should have been taken upon so bad an instrument."

One assumes that in Pepys's opinion the "badness" resides not in Sr. F.'s particular instrument, but in the guitar qua guitar, as not being on the aesthetic level of, say, one of the viol family; akin to someone nowadays disparaging the accordion or harmonica for not being a concert grand or a clarinet, regardless of the performer's virtuosity.

Jesse  •  Link

"Miss [Davis’s] dancing in a shepherd’s clothes did please us mightily"

Having put two daughters through many, many years of dance lessons I was rather curious. Wikipedia of course has a brief entry on Baroque dance and YouTube has videos, e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVQtvPeHAak - worth a look if you've half an interest.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

I had the same reaction as Bradford to the line about the guitar. I would guess, though, that the lute or the theorbo, plucked instruments that Sam likes well, are more likely than bowed viols to be instruments to which he compares the guitar and finds it wanting.

Margaret  •  Link

"...I perceive they have taken the highest resolution in the world to become good husbands...

Husband: a prudent or frugal manager.

Ruben  •  Link

"gittar"
Pepys was comparing a precursor of the classic guitar with a precursor of the classic violin.
You can see an illustration of a guitar by Vermeer (1672) at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guitar#Renaissance_a…
wiki says: "They are substantially smaller and more delicate than the classical guitar, and generate a much quieter sound" and "They were more often used as rhythm instruments in ensembles than as solo instruments".
Now that we know Sam Pepys better, I would say he preferred an instrument neighbours would hear.

language hat  •  Link

"Was this oil from Baku"

No, that's a couple of centuries away.

djc  •  Link

"and how offices and salaries have been increased since; and I hope it will end in the taking away some of our Commissioners, though it may be to the lessening of some of our salaries also"

How times change

Carl in Boston  •  Link

I was mightily troubled that all that pains should have been taken upon so bad an instrument. Guitar is an easy instrument at the beginning, but is very difficult to do anything interesting when you get better. Segovia could make it sing, given the notes were written to humor how the instrument likes to lay down. I have a bagpipe chanter and am giving up, it's just too primitive and cranky. I picked up the clarinet right here, I play it maybe every two years, and it's easy to use. It's a modern instrument, and I'm playing it in a concert tonight.

cum salis grano  •  Link

oil: it was there but no one was available to exploit it or too dirty to talk about it.
oleum igni.....

P2. (to add) oil to (the) fire (also flame) (and variants) [compare classical Latin oleum cam{imac}n{omac}, oleum flammae, in post-classical Latin also oleum igni (4th cent.)]:
used in similative and figurative contexts to refer to something which makes existing anger, conflict, emotion, etc., more intense. to pour oil on the fire (and variants): to increase or aggravate anger, passion, etc.
1548 Hall's Vnion: Henry VIII f. ccxxviiiv, There were also certaine other malicious and busye persones who added Oyle..to the Fornace.

1560 J. DAUS tr. J. Sleidane Commentaries f. ccxxviijv, As the common saying is, powred oyle vpon the fyre.
1630 J. TAYLOR Wks. 92 But all intreaty was like oyle to fire, Not quench'd; but more inflam'd the scurvy Squire.
1647 A. COWLEY Incurable in Mistress iv, But Wine, alas, was Oyl to th' fire.

With modern research tools one could find references that those not of western education were using oil from the ground.

The educated ones of yester year never mentioned boring mundane items that were useful but distasteful, like the not realizing the Otterman Empire were using a pinprick of smallpox of beauty treatment long before Western world deemed and invented the cure. [Lady Worsley Montegue introduced the concept to the Great Medicine Men of London, only to be told that she was right daft.]

Just an uneducated thought.

cum salis grano  •  Link

NIbus or not invented by us syndrome.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

""One assumes that in Pepys's opinion the "badness" resides not in Sr. F.'s particular instrument, but in the guitar qua guitar, as not being on the aesthetic level of, say, one of the viol family;"

L&M note Pepys later became fonder of the guitar and the Pepysian Library contains four MS volumes of songs with guitar tablature, the work of Morelli, his domestic musician in the late 1670s.

Concerning Morelli: http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1664/04/15/#c1097…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"But here is strong talk, as if Harman had taken some of the Dutch East India ships, but I dare not yet believe it, and brought them into Lisbon."

L&M say a canard: there were no English men-of-war in the Straits at this time. The rumour possibly originated with the story of Jeremy Smith's capturing two Dutch Indiamen off the Irish coast.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I perceive they have taken the highest resolution in the world to become good husbands, and to retrench all charge; to that end we are commanded to give him an account of the establishment in the seventh year of the late King’s reign, and how offices and salaries have been increased since;"

L&M: A committee of council for the retrenchment of expenses had brrn appointed on 29 July and on 3 August had written to the Duke asking for this information: Longleat, Coventry MSS 96, f. 267r. The test year was 1632, when Charles I had for the second time put the admiralty into commission.
See https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1667/08/12/
https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1667/08/20/ and (270) 759-9200.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Why the comparison with 1637?

Until the permanent royal navy came into being, organization of a navy did not need to be elaborate: A commander was appointed for the campaign, after which most of the vessels, being converted merchantmen, returned to their home ports.

In 1540 Lord Bedford was named lord admiral and in 1545 a Council for Marine Causes was established — the genesis of the Navy Board.

Kings James I and Charles I's favorite, George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, was made lord high admiral, and after his murder in 1628 the office was put into commission.

The Navy Board took responsibility for administration and implementation.
The Admiralty Board was responsible for appointments and strategy.

The fleet to which Charles I had devoted considerable care deserted him during the Civil Wars.

The Commonwealth regime abolished both boards, but found it necessary to replace them with commissioners of the Admiralty and naval commissioners, under whom the navy, particularly with Blake's leadership, acquitted itself well.

Charles II in 1660 restored the old order and was fortunate enough to find in Samuel Pepys a remarkably capable civil servant.

The growing importance of the navy in the 17th cent. was underlined by the role of lord high admiral being taken at the highest level — by James, duke of York, 1660–73, and by Charles II himself 1673–84.

The same efficiency was scarcely maintained in the 18th cent. and the great victories were won more by tactics, morale, and personnel than by administration. Since the 1st Lord of the Admiralty was always a politician, often with no experience at sea, professional naval advice came from a 1st Sea Lord.

The dual system came to an end in 1832, partly as a measure of economy.

From https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/a…

Helpful, but no second commission. But that established the first time a naval commission took over was when the 1st Buckingham was assassinated in 1628.

Then King Charles started ship tax fleets, and by 1638 I find captains refusing commissions for lack of pay, and navy men dying with eight years of back pay owing. [page 148]
So Pepys will be able to argue that the 1637 base line was financially misleading and mismanaged also.

A detailed look at King Charles I's navy -- I didn't find mention of a second commission of 1637, but I didn't read the whole thing closely -- is at
https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1317789/1/2…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Two problems. The baseline year was 1632, and the file for the in depth look at Charles I's Navy is at
https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1317789/1/2…

@@@

On Page 9 it tells us:

"Following the murder of Bucklngham in August 1628, the King chose not to appoint a new Lord High Admiral, but to place the office in commission. Until his death in 1635, the most prominent member of the new Commission was the Lord Treasurer, Richard Weston, Earl of Portland.

"Over the next few years, and in particular after the cessation of hostilities with Spain, Portland set about retrenching government expenditure, thereby limiting the scope of naval operations. However, Portland did find the money to pay for
a fresh building programme, for between 1632 and 1637 eleven new ships and
pinnaces were added to the Navy.

"The Admiralty Commission lasted until 1638, ..."

So no sign of a second commission here either. But more good news for Pepys; the budget was inadequate for their needs, even not paying the Captains.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

"all that pains should have been taken upon so bad an instrument."

So says the flageolet player...

Is this the same Nell that Sam dallied with in his home just weeks ago? And she's a gossip? Sounds very risky. A parting shot as she scoots out the door to ruin both boss' day?

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