Wednesday 19 February 1667/68

Up, and to the office, where all the morning drawing up an answer to the Report of the Committee for miscarriages to the Parliament touching our paying men by tickets, which I did do in a very good manner I think. Dined with my clerks at home, where much good discourse of our business of the Navy, and the trouble now upon us, more than we expected. After dinner my wife out with Deb., to buy some things against my sister’s wedding, and I to the office to write fair my business I did in the morning, and in the evening to White Hall, where I find Sir W. Coventry all alone, a great while with the Duke of York, in the King’s drawing-room, they two talking together all alone, which did mightily please me. Then I did get Sir W. Coventry (the Duke of York being gone) aside, and there read over my paper, which he liked and corrected, and tells me it will be hard to escape, though the thing be never so fair, to have it voted a miscarriage; but did advise me and my Lord Brouncker, who coming by did join with us, to prepare some members in it, which we shall do. Here I do hear how La Roche, a French captain, who was once prisoner here, being with his ship at Plymouth, hath played some freakes there, for which his men being beat out of the town, he hath put up his flag of defiance, and also, somewhere thereabout, did land with his men, and go a mile into the country, and did some pranks, which sounds pretty odd, to our disgrace, but we are in condition now to bear any thing. But, blessed be God! all the Court is full of the good news of my Lord Sandwich’s having made a peace between Spain and Portugall, which is mighty great news, and, above all, to my Lord’s honour, more than any thing he ever did; and yet I do fear it will not prevail to secure him in Parliament against incivilities there. Thence, took up my wife at Unthanke’s, and so home, and there my mind being full of preparing my paper against to-morrow for the House, with an address from the office to the House, I to the office, very late, and then home to supper and to bed.


20 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"La Roche, a French captain, who was once prisoner here, being with his ship at Plymouth, hath played some freakes there, for which his men being beat out of the town, he hath put up his flag of defiance, and also, somewhere thereabout, did land with his men, and go a mile into the country, and did some pranks,"

The "freakes" or anomalous raids referred to here briefly, will have consequences partly related later. http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1668/02/29/

Christopher Squire  •  Link

freakes:

‘freak, n.1 . . 3. A capricious prank or trick, a caper.
1724    J. Gay Quidnuncki's,   Thus, as in giddy freaks he bounces, Crack goes the twig, and in he flounces!
1840    R. H. Barham Jackdaw of Rheims in Ingoldsby Legends 1st Ser. 218   The priests, with awe, As such freaks they saw, Said, ‘The Devil must be in that little Jackdaw’.
1866    Trollope Belton Estate I. i. 6   Expelled from Harrow for some boyish freak.’ [OED]

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"After dinner my wife out with Deb., to buy some things against my sister’s wedding..."

It's the wedding of the decade...Diary-wise at least. I wonder if we get an invite courtesy our hero.

"Pall's getting married in the morning...
Though I'd rather Cumberland, Jackson will do...
Bess, set the table...
Well, Jane...You're more able...
But get Pall to the church on time...

She'd better be there in the morning...
After all I've laid out failing to show would be a crime...
Tom Edwards, you're quite able...
Tie her to a table...
But get her to the church on time...

If she be crying, quiet her down...
Should I be wooing, say I'm called out of town...
But she's got to be there in the morning...
Spruced up by Bess and clear of any crime... (Pall give back that book)

Let her rail on me and flail me, but don't let Jackson fail me...
Get her to the church, yes drag her to the church...
For my sake, get her to that church on time...

Starlight is reeling home to bed now...
My eyes worn out from reading all this time...
London is waking...Daylight is breakin'...
Good luck ole Pall...Good health...Good bye...

She's gettin' married in the morning...
Thank God the wedding bells will chime...

Hail and salute her...As I haul off to boot her...
Not to get her off my hands would be...A...Crime."

Paul  •  Link

Terry: The "freakes" link does not work.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Paul, it will (or is written to) 10 days from now, when Pepys reports more.

Paul  •  Link

Terry: Sorry, I didn't understand that.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"drawing up an answer to the Report of the Committee for miscarriages to the Parliament touching our paying men by tickets"

L&M tell us they found an office copy in Hayter's hand, 21 February, entitled in Pepys's hand "Considerations offered by the Principal Officers & Comissioners of the Navy touching theyr discharging Seamen by Ticket' at Oxford in the Bodleian Library among the Papers of Samuel Pepys, 191 , ff. 233-5; signed by Pepys and Mennes. On the flyleaf Pepysd has written a note that unsigned copies were sent to Col Birch, Sir John Lowther and Mr. Joliffe.
http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/dept/scwmss/wmss/onlin…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"and yet I do fear [having made a peace between Spain and Portugal] will not prevail to secure him in Parliament against incivilities there. "

In the matter of the prize-goods scandal, now being investigated by the Commons' Committee on Miscarriages. (L&M note)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

L&M transcribe otherwise:

"I do hear how La Roche, a French captain, who was once prisoner here, being with his ship at Plymouth, hath played some reakes there,"

REAKES: tricks: OED records plural only; 'to play reaks' very common in 17th cent. (L&M Large Glossary).

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

The somewhat vague gossip that Sam has picked up on this La Roche's reakes is running ahead of at least one dispatch written this day (and recorded as No. 235 in the State Papers, https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=gCk5AQAAM…), forwarding depositions by "several Ostand mariners" whose good ship the St. Mary was seized around a week ago by Capt. De La Roche, despite the crew's attempt to sink her and their escape to Torquay with "their sails, ammunition, &c." They couldn't run too fast with all that stuff, and La Roche caught them up while still at Torquay and seized the not-sinking-fast-enough St. Mary and the "ammunition, &c."

What did we say recently on how those Ostenders would end up bringing their fight with the French into English ports? There we are, while the ink is still fresh on a royal decree to, precisely, keep everyone peaceful and neutral in English ports, and incidentally to ban the likes of La Roche from hiring English mercenaries, as he's just been doing on a scale of several dozen. And De La Roche, last reported 3 days ago to have already moved on to the Isle of Wight, seems to be running around like he owns the place.

So it's a mess and it better be contained, because La Roche isn't just "a French captain", he's the "chef d'escadre des armées navales", one of the highest-ranking and most trusted naval favorites of the Most Christian, who put him there with a substantial fleet (eight big ships) precisely to hunt Ostenders (another report this day, from John Pocock, relates how a St. Malo ship "speaks much of the great prejudice done to that place by the Ostenders"). He also happens to know all the brass in England, where Charles himself pardoned him over tea and sconces (we imagine) after he was captured in that tiff barely 18 months ago. So De La Roche might not be too impressed by a decree to please be nice in our ports, even assuming he knows about it, especially if those Ostend pyrates (with all that ammo they weren't just fishing, right?) are now playing the aggrieved victims. The decree also included orders to the English fleet to secure the waters against foreign privateers, and where was the English fleet in all this?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Stephane, please give us some references for the above ... my French isn't up to many of the Google responses I get.

I suspect the "La Roche ... [who] is the "chef d'escadre des armées navales", is his relative/nephew who was a famous Naval hero during the 18th century.

Do you have an authority for Charles II's pardon?

I'm amazed he doesn't have a Wikipedia page by now.

Sadly Terry's book link goes nowhere useful now ... I'll check and post my L&M entry on this man. Between us we get this man's shenanigans straight.
https://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/12205/

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The "dispatch written this day (and recorded as No. 235 in the State Papers)" is posted at:
https://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/12205/?c=…

Torquay at the time was a collection of four hamlets of fishermen/smugglers with a new harbor paid for by one of the local lords of the four local manors ... this was the event of the decade for them. The guns and ammo was hidden at the home of Dan. Luscombe, a family name still represented there today. How do I know? It's my home town.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Stephane, you can stop looking. I found the Rupert mention:

Friday 2 November 1666

“Up betimes, and with Sir W. Batten to Woolwich, where first we went on board the Ruby, French prize, the only ship of war we have taken from any of our enemies this year. It seems a very good ship, but with galleries quite round the sterne to walk in as a balcone, which will be taken down. She had also about forty good brass guns, …”

https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1666/11/02/#:~:t….

Sometime later in 1666 (which could be until March 1666/67), there is this entry, sadly without any date besides the year:

10. Pass for Sieur de la Roche, late commander of the French ship Ruby, taken by Prince Rupert, the King being pleased to dismiss him, on account of services heretofore done by him. [Draft.]

https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-paper…

So he had a get out of jail free card. I wonder if this went back to the exile years, or services to Queen Mother Henrietta Maria, or maybe Charles’ sisters … or spying? Evidently de la Roche was less than appreciative of his good fortune.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

De La Roche's interesting career and Dartagnanesque mustache can be examined in his Wikipedia biography, at https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilles_de_La_Roche-…. Charles had, indeed, a debt to him. How secure De La Roche felt in English waters is not known (alas, he left no memoirs), but Louis certainly felt he was the right officer to send there, and orders are orders.

Shockingly it is in French only, however to deal with tongues foreigne we recommend Dr. Google's unguent, Google Translate, which can even be applied automatically (to entire pages in one swoop if used as an Extension) to documents viewed in Chrome (at the Sign of the Chrome, past the ruins of the Fire Fox). It renders everything from Albanian to Zulu (and definitely French or Dutch or Spanish) into increasingly flawless English and is like the dragon's blood to Siegfried, if we may be permitted this slight anachronism.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

WOW ... de la Roche had quite a career. (I love the translations ... the language is as picturesque as Pepys' English.) Thanks for the link.

Any idea why the English remember Gilles de La Roche Saint-André as "Louis"?

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Maybe he played the trumpet? But no. It would depend on which English remember him. His Wiki lists a Louis, and a quick check on https://www.geneastar.org/ reveals at least one distinct family with a bunch of 16-17C Louis (hardly an original choice at the time). None of them seem to have left much of a trace but they were a military family in Brittany. At least some will be notable counter-revolutionaries, as was their home region generally, so maybe they jumped across the Channel and made a career.

Regis de La Roche Saint Andre  •  Link

I find your discussion about Gilles de La Roche Saint-André and (thanks to Google Translate !), I am very interested in your point of view. Excuse me first for my very bad english... I'm French, and a descendant of Gilles de La Roche. I'm now writing his biography with public sources as well as familial archives but I have no access to english ones.
I have some informations about his links with prince Rupert that explain and would be very pleased to share them. May be you will help me to understand the rest !
Few modern sources, even in France, call him Louis (and the mistake spread) but his real firstname is Gilles. I have done some corrections in his Wikipedia page, that should not contain errors now.
I hope to read you soon !

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Welcome aboard, Regis ... my French is awful, but I'll do anything I can to help you share your family stories here. I'm sending Phil Gyford an email asking him to share my email address with you so we can do some preliminary agonizing away from public view.

If anyone wants to join our conversation, feel free to join us.

Stephane, if you're lurking, this could be very interesting.

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