Thursday 2 January 1667/68

Up, and with Sir J. Minnes by coach to White Hall, and there attended the King and the Duke of York in the Duke of York’s lodgings, with the rest of the Officers and many of the Commanders of the fleete, and some of our master shipwrights, to discourse the business of having the topmasts of ships made to lower abaft of the mainmast; a business I understand not, and so can give no good account; but I do see that by how much greater the Council, and the number of Counsellors is, the more confused the issue is of their councils; so that little was said to the purpose regularly, and but little use was made of it, they coming to a very broken conclusion upon it, to make trial in a ship or two. From this they fell to other talk about the fleete’s fighting this late war, and how the King’s ships have been shattered; though the King said that the world would not have it that about ten or twenty ships in any fight did do any service, and that this hath been told so to him himself, by ignorant people. The Prince, who was there, was mightily surprised at it, and seemed troubled: but the King told him that it was only discourse of the world. But Mr. Wren whispered me in the eare, and said that the Duke of Albemarle had put it into his Narrative for the House, that not above twenty-five ships fought in the engagement wherein he was, but that he was advised to leave it out; but this he did write from sea, I am sure, or words to that effect: and did displease many commanders, among others, Captain Batts, who the Duke of York said was a very stout man, all the world knew; and that another was brought into his ship that had been turned out of his place when he was a boatswain, not long before, for being a drunkard. This the Prince took notice of, and would have been angry, I think, but they let their discourse fall: but the Duke of York was earnest in it. And the Prince said to me, standing by me, “God damn me, if they will turn out every man that will be drunk, they must turn out all the commanders in the fleete. What is the matter if he be drunk, so when he comes to fight he do his work? At least, let him be punished for his drunkenness, and not put out of his command presently.” This he spoke, very much concerned for this idle fellow, one Greene. After this the King began to tell stories of the cowardice of the Spaniards in Flanders, when he was there, at the siege of Mardike and Dunkirke; which was very pretty, though he tells them but meanly. This being done I to Westminster Hall, and there staid a little: and then home, and by the way did find with difficulty the Life of Sir Philip Sidney (the book I mentioned yesterday). And the bookseller told me that he had sold four, within this week or two, which is more than ever he sold in all his life of them; and he could not imagine what should be the reason of it: but I suppose it is from the same reason of people’s observing of this part therein, touching his prophesying our present condition here in England in relation to the Dutch, which is very remarkable. So home to dinner, where Balty’s wife is come to town; she come last night and lay at my house, but being weary was gone to bed before I come home, and so I saw her not before. After dinner I took my wife and her girl out to the New Exchange, and there my wife bought herself a lace for a handkercher, which I do give her, of about 3l., for a new year’s gift, and I did buy also a lace for a band for myself, and so home, and there to the office busy late, and so home to my chamber, where busy on some accounts, and then to supper and to bed. This day my wife shows me a locket of dyamonds worth about 40l., which W. Hewer do press her to accept, and hath done for a good while, out of his gratitude for my kindness and hers to him. But I do not like that she should receive it, it not being honourable for me to do it; and so do desire her to force him to take it back again, he leaving it against her will yesterday with her. And she did this evening force him to take it back, at which she says he is troubled; but, however, it becomes me more to refuse it, than to let her accept of it. And so I am well pleased with her returning it him. It is generally believed that France is endeavouring a firmer league with us than the former, in order to his going on with his business against Spayne the next year; which I am, and so everybody else is, I think, very glad of, for all our fear is, of his invading us.

This day, at White Hall, I overheard Sir W. Coventry propose to the King his ordering of some particular thing in the Wardrobe, which was of no great value; but yet, as much as it was, it was of profit to the King and saving to his purse. The King answered to it with great indifferency, as a thing that it was no great matter whether it was done or no. Sir W. Coventry answered: “I see your Majesty do not remember the old English proverb, ‘He that will not stoop for a pin, will never be worth a pound.’” And so they parted, the King bidding him do as he would; which, methought, was an answer not like a King that did intend ever to do well.


23 Annotations

Margaret  •  Link

A locket of diamonds, worth forty pounds??? How can Will afford it? Has he been receiving "gifts" from clients too?

Does he have a major crush on his boss's pretty wife, or is this a type of "butter up the boss with a fancy New Year's gift"?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Curious that Sam doesn't confront Will personally about the locket...Perhaps he doesn't wish to have Will think he knows about it in order to spare his feelings? Having Bess return it with thanks as too much is probably the easiest and most acceptable way. Seems however fond Bess is of Will things haven't gone beyond a sort of crush on his part.

***
"...but I do see that by how much greater the Council, and the number of Counsellors is, the more confused the issue is of their councils..."

Always the way...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Well, Mrs. Pepys?"

"Here." hands locket, frowning. "And it was a flat failure. Not even an extra 3Ls on the lace."

"Perhaps Mr. P wants to surprise you on Twelfth Night?"

"Will, you're very sweet but there's no way in Hell that man is getting me a decent New Year's gift...Let alone a diamond locket."

"I thought sure this would work, Ma'am. He hates it when men pay your attentions."

"Should've paid Coleman to offer it to me." Bess fumes. "At least he got a rise out of him, though it cost me enough."

"That actor bloke would've taken the locket and run, ma'am."

"Still might have been worth it."

"Perhaps, Mrs. Pepys...We could try a little more forcefully. I may lack the charming appearance and distinctive and unique voice of Mr. Coleman's but..."

"Aw, Will...You're so sweet."

"Ah, Bess...If I were King...What splendid treasure..."

"Will, you are the sweetest thing but please get up off your knees now."

"...Would I bring...Oh, Bess, my darling."

"Will, that's very nice but..."

"Bess, say I may have some hope. Just one word..."

"William Hewer! Please take your hand from my waist, sir."

"Sorry, bit carried away, ma'am."

"Indeed, sir. But actually not too bad, Will."

"I thought it not bad at all." Sam notes, entering.

Carl in Boston  •  Link

they coming to a very broken conclusion upon it, to make trial in a ship or two
Awkward to have a big committee where everyone must have his say, but they came out with the right answer: Give it a try. They all laid their hands to the tiller on this one so they are all part of the experiment and none can say later they didn't want to do this.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Hooke Folio Online

Ian: 2: 1667/8. Dr. Ferne will try transfusion). mr. Townly his micrometer presented) siluer pipes for transfusion returned to him) tht he was turning optick glasses wth a lath)

mr Hooke produced a piece of Clockwork sayd to serue always to promote a pendulum streigh wthout any check at all, but not being now compleat twas orderd to be produced againe at next meeting with the additions of wt is necessary to perfect it. The same was put in mind of his new Cyder Engine and orderd to get a module of it made as soon as convenient. The same produced a paper concerning a way diuised by him of Discouering the various pressures of the [In margin]Vz. air at Sea to predict the Alterations of weather & foresee stormes. twas orderd to be registred and the authour desired to get such a weather glasse made as in described in this paper as soon as he could.

The same was putt in mind of making Expts. wth. shining wood and fish both in the Exhausting Engine and in a close glasse wth the same air always Remaining in it.
Item of the Expt. of circulating blood in an open pipe wthout passing through the Lungs.

Item of the Expt. In the Rarefying box. & that in the park when the weather serues.

item the tying the Iugular.

(Dr. Crone for his winegathering vessel.) Heuelius paper to be consider. mr. Hooke produced a Latine Letter sent him from a Bohemian wth. a little Booke in the German tongue, which was deliuerd to mr Oldenburg to pervse & giue an account of it the next [In margin]q Day . Sr. Th Deuaux a Letter from mr Walch in worstersh: of seuerall scowring clays.

http://webapps.qmul.ac.uk/cell/Hooke/hooke_folio.…

Raymond  •  Link

Well that explains everything ?

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the business of having the topmasts of ships made to lower abaft of the mainmast; a business I understand not"

I too understand this business not, Mr. Pepys, but there are some sites on the web with mast info, e.g.:

The masting and rigging of English ships of war, 1625-1860, By James Lees
http://is.gd/k1b21

Ruben  •  Link

How can Will afford it?

I presume Will worked with and for Pepys to learn the inner parts of the business and transactions involved in serving the Navy.
His father was a merchant, I presume richer than Pepys and died during the plague (14 sept 65). So he had enough money to do as he pleased.
I also presume that Will knew to read the shorthand Pepys used (it was not that rare in those days). Pepys did not care to let him have his diary because Will knew everything about him.

cum salis grano  •  Link

William also had Samuel's ear and a whisper with the appropriate persuasion material is always effective.

Katherine Anderson  •  Link

'After dinner I took my wife and her girl out to the New Exchange, and there my wife bought herself a lace for a handkercher, which I do give her, of about 3l., for a new year’s gift, and I did buy also a lace for a band for myself' (Diary entry for 2 January).

Can someone explain the anomoly (to me) of this entry discussing a new year's gift in January, but at the time (and until 1752), the new year started on lady's day - 25 March.

Katherine Anderson  •  Link

Apologies: my previous annotation sent before editing:

'After dinner I took my wife and her girl out to the New Exchange, and there my wife bought herself a lace for a handkercher, which I do give her, of about 3l., for a new year’s gift, and I did buy also a lace for a band for myself ...'

Could someone explain the anomaly (to me) of this 2 January diary entry in which Sam buys Bess a new year's gift, but at the time (and until 1752), the new year started on lady's day - 25 March.

Mary  •  Link

the January/March anomaly.

We are in a period of gradual change. Lady Day will continue to mark the turn of the legal and financial year until 1752 but January 1st has been gaining ground for some time as the commonly accepted first day of the year (as in the Julian calendar). Pepys acknowledges this duality by marking all dates between the two points in a way that demonstrates its existence: e.g. January 1 1659/60.

Katherine Anderson  •  Link

Many thanks, Mary.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the business of having the topmasts of ships made to lower abaft of the mainmast"

L&M note the established practice was to lower the topmast before the mainmast.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Mr. Wren whispered me in the eare, and said that the Duke of Albemarle had put it into his Narrative for the House, that not above twenty-five ships fought in the engagement wherein he was, but that he was advised to leave it out; but this he did write from sea, I am sure, or words to that effect:"

See Albemarle to Coventry, the Royal Charles, 6 June 1666: 'I assure you I never fought with worse officers than now in my life, for not above twenty of them behaved themselves like men.' (Smith, i. 110) The reference was to the Four Days Battle. For his Narrative, see 1 November 1667 and Commons Journal http://www.british-history.ac.uk/commons-jrnl/vol…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"After this the King began to tell stories of the cowardice of the Spaniards in Flanders, when he was there, at the siege of Mardike and Dunkirke"

L&M note this was in the winter of 1657-8 , when the King had served under Turenne with a Franco-English force at the siege of Mardyck. It was generally thought that the Spaniards had abandoned the town's defence too soon. The loss of Dunkirk in the following summer ws due to other reasons -- principally to the Spanish defeat in June at the battle of the Dunes (in which the Dukes of York and Gloucester had fought). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort-Mardyck#History Cf. The Memoirs Of James II by A. Lytton Sells pp. 243+ https://archive.org/stream/memoirsofjamesii002129…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"a lace for a handkercher, which I do give her, of about 3l."

L&M note the lace was of gold- or silver-thread.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"It is generally believed that France is endeavouring a firmer league with us than the former, in order to his going on with his business against Spayne the next year; which I am, and so everybody else is, I think, very glad of, for all our fear is, of his invading us."

France was busy isolating her enemy Spain, and had already in December concluded agreements with Brandenburg and the Emperor. Her attempt to bring off a bargain with England was now on the brink of failure. Her last offer had been made on 25 December/4 January, and England switched courses to join Holland and Sweden in the anti-French Triple Alliance on 13/23 January. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triple_Alliance_(16… The previous Anglo-French Treaty was that of 8 April 1667 in which England and France agreed not to ally with each other's enemies. (Per L&M footnote)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"So home to dinner, where Balty’s wife is come to town; she come last night and lay at my house, but being weary was gone to bed before I come home, and so I saw her not before."

Esther is living in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. Balty is in the Caribbean on a one year assignment with Adm. Harman.

In early June 1667 the English fleet, under Rear-Adm. Sir John Harman, reached the West Indies. Harman brought 7 men-of-war and 2 fireships with him, transforming the balance of power in the area.
He set sail from Nevis to try to intercept de La Barre's fleet and headed for Martinique on 25 June.
Harman with his original squadron, plus Jersey and the fifth rate frigate Norwich now had a total strength of 8 ships of the line, a frigate, 2 fireships, and 2 ketches.
He saw 19 French West India Company vessels and 14 Martinican traders huddled beneath Fort St. Pierre and protected by two smaller forts by midday of 29 June.

Harman's squadron:
Lion (58 guns) flagship
Jersey (50)
Crown (48)
Newcastle (50)
Dover (46)
Bonaventure (48)
Assistance (46)
Assurance (38)
Norwich (26) frigate
Joseph fireship
Prosperous fireship
Portsmouth (10) ketch
Roe (8) ketch

From 30 June - 7 August they fought until the last day when Harman and his warships entered in the bay again, but this time concentrating their fire on the three forts. As soon as they were close, the English unleashed a point-blank bombardment against Fort St. Pierre's battered redoubts. Then the next target - Fort St. Robert - was reduced to rubble, but Gov. Clodoré and militia Capt. Guillaume d’Orange resisted bravely from Fort St. Sébastien by supplementing their meager magazines from the fireship Souci. This fort was also battered into submission and Harman, seeing his victory complete, retired.

After the battle, Harman discovered most of his ships were nearly out of ammunition.

Harman retired completely from Martinique before dawn on 11 July, returning to Nevis for repairs. The English had won a major victory at the cost of 80 casualties; they had burnt at least 8 French ships, sank several more, and captured most of the remaining ships, for only two or three French ships are recorded as having escaped. French losses were heavy; as many as 600 were killed or wounded with another 400 captured.

Harman, with the French fleet neutralized, then attacked the French at Cayenne forcing its garrison to surrender.

He then went on to capture Dutch Suriname.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Harman's absolute victory came too late to impact the end of the second Anglo-Dutch war. News of their disaster shocked not only the French but also the Dutch, who had been certain of their domination of the Caribbean.

Adm. Crinjeens sailed back to the Caribbean in horror only to find the French fleet vaporized and the English in possession of Suriname.

On 31 July 1667 the English and Dutch signed the Treaty of Breda, returning to the status quo.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Martiniqu…

“Sept. 6, 1667. John Clarke to James Hickes. A vessel arrived from Harwich brings news that the English lost 600 to 700 men in the attempt on St. Christopher; that Sir John Harman was not then there, but going with 11 ships, and left a ketch at Barbadoes to bring more soldiers after him; that the ketch met a French sloop with a packet from St. Christopher to their fleet at Martinico, and took her, whereupon Sir John Harman sailed there and fell upon their fleet of 27 sail, 25 of which he sank, and burnt the others, save two which escaped; also that he left three of his fleet there, and went with the rest to Nevis, to make another attempt on St. Christopher. “Calendar of State Payers, 1667, p. 447 ↩ https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1667/08/05/

I wonder where they went from Sept. 1667 - April 1668? ... Oak Island, Nova Scotia for instance? https://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/11124/#c5…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

'"the business of having the topmasts of ships made to lower abaft of the mainmast"

'L&M note the established practice was to lower the topmast before the mainmast.'

Abaft the mainmast means "Towards the stern of a ship, relative to some other object or position. Abaft the beam is any bearing or direction between the beam of a ship and its stern. See also aft; but ‘abaft’ is always relative, e.g. abaft the mainmast (opposite to ‘before’); ‘aft’ is general (opposite to ‘forward’)."
https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/a…

For the non-sailors in the group, the stern is the blunt end, and the bow is the pointed end of the ship. They are discussing on which side of a round mast to lower the highest masts during repairs. Masts are made up of more than one tree.

"Until the mid-19th century, all vessels' masts were made of wood formed from a single or several pieces of timber which typically consisted of the trunk of a conifer tree. From the 16th century, vessels were often built of a size requiring masts taller and thicker than could be made from single tree trunks. On these larger vessels, to achieve the required height, the masts were built from up to four sections (also called masts), known in order of rising height above the decks as the lower, top, topgallant and royal masts. Giving the lower sections sufficient thickness necessitated building them up from separate pieces of wood. Such a section was known as a made mast, as opposed to sections formed from single pieces of timber, which were known as pole masts."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mast_(sailing)

Which explains why there are so many ropes in the rigging. Keeping four pieces of lumber balanced on top of each other took some doing.

RSGII  •  Link

Compound masts are usually overlapped and bound at the joints with line (rope) and metal, strengthened with stays and shrouds. See “Pepys Navy” for more elaboration. Obtaining a reliable supply of masts and hemp—masts were imported from the Northeastern American colonies and Scandinavia, was critical to the success of the Navy. They needed hundreds of spare masts and miles of rope/line on hand. Pepys understanding of this trade and negotiation of contracts was key to his influence and power. The Admirals knew how to fight ships. Sam knew how to supply them.

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