Sunday 5 April 1668

(Lord’s day). Up, and to my chamber, and there to the writing fair some of my late musique notions, and so to church, where I have not been a good while, and thence home, and dined at home, with W. Hewer with me; and after dinner, he and I a great deal of good talk touching this Office, how it is spoiled by having so many persons in it, and so much work that is not made the work of any one man, but of all, and so is never done; and that the best way to have it well done, were to have the whole trust in one, as myself, to set whom I pleased to work in the several businesses of the Office, and me to be accountable for the whole, and that would do it, as I would find instruments: but this is not to be compassed; but something I am resolved to do about Sir J. Minnes before it be long. Then to my chamber again, to my musique, and so to church; and then home, and thither comes Captain Silas Taylor to me, the Storekeeper of Harwich, where much talk, and most of it against Captain Deane, whom I do believe to be a high, proud fellow; but he is an active man, and able in his way, and so I love him. He gone, I to my musique again, and to read a little, and to sing with Mr. Pelling, who come to see me, and so spent the evening, and then to supper and to bed. I hear that eight of the ringleaders in the late tumults of the ’prentices at Easter are condemned to die.1

16 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Ormond to Arlington
Written from: Dublin
Date: 5 April 1668

Ossory informs Lord Arlington of the writer's determination to pass into England, and to leave him in the government [i.e., Ossory, Ormond's son, is to be Lord Deputy of Ireland when Ormond leaves]. The reasons for both are fitter for discourse, than for a letter, & to that they are referred. ...

... Lord Orrery makes very deep professions of his unalterable friendship for the writer. Yet, when the latter shall have spoken to Lord Arlington, he believes his Lordship will perceive that it is time for him to appear in England. ...…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"so to church, where I have not been a good while"

But Sam'l, what about last Sunday?… So forgettable were the strange reader and strange preacher (and strange sermon), it may not have seemed like St. Olave's at all.

And before that, you'd not attended for a month.

Robin Peters  •  Link

"“It is to be observed,” says “The London Gazette,” “to the just vindication of the City, that none of the persons apprehended upon the said tumult were found to be apprentices, as was given out, but some idle persons, many of them nursed in the late Rebellion, too readily embracing any opportunity of making their own advantages to the disturbance of the peace, and injury of others.” ↩" Now known as rentamob and still active today.

john  •  Link

"the best way to have it well done, were to have the whole trust in one, as myself, [...] and me to be accountable for the whole, and that would do it"

I believe that the current buzzword is "ownership" and who else but he.

Don McCahill  •  Link

I wonder if "apprentices" simply was another way the 17th C people referred to young ruffians.

language hat  •  Link

"But Sam’l, what about last Sunday?"

He knows perfectly well he went to church that day. He doesn't mean that this is the first time he's been in a long time, he means that he hasn't been going regularly for a long time.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...were to have the whole trust in one, as myself, to set whom I pleased to work in the several businesses of the Office, and me to be accountable for the whole, and that would do it, as I would find instruments: but this is not to be compassed..."

Hmmn...Touch of hubris there, Samuel. What happens when Parliament wants a scapegoat and you are the One in Whom All Trust is Placed? Far better to run from behind the scenes, at least in these times, I should think. Besides...

"But Mr. Pepys...You've never even captained or served on a vessel, let alone studied naval design. I really don't think, sir..."

"Exactly. You don't think...I'm in charge here. This little business of naval design is something anyone with my incredible breadth of experience in matters naval can do. Observe..." Pulls out sketches.

"My wife's handiwork as to the artist but my own designs..."

"But sir? This sort of vessel could never be seaworthy. And as for the guns...One broadside and the ship would turn turtle."

"Nonsense, Deane. I've ordered fifty and they shall be afloat in six months."

Terry Foreman  •  Link

“the best way to have it well done, were to have the whole trust in one, as myself, […] and me to be accountable for the whole, and that would do it”

I gather certain paperwork sent to the Navy Office has not been dealt with due to a paper-routing problem and a disinclination of most of Pepys's fellow-officers to admit it falls within their bailiwick.

Methinks Pepys, longtime clerk -- more paperwork-friendly than the tars et al. with whom he works--, is simply musing on how much better things could be if he were the office-manager there.

Rex Gordon  •  Link

London's apprentices were notorious mischief-makers.

From "London: The Biography" by Peter Ackroyd:

The most striking example (of the energy and restlessness of urban life) comes from within the turbulent body of the apprentices, a peculiarly London phenomenon of young men who were bound by strict articles of agreement and yet managed to retain a high-spiritedness and almost feverish buoyancy which spilled over into the streets. They "wold ether bee at the taverne, filling their heads with wine, or at the Dagger in Cheapside cramming their bellies with minced pyes; but above al other times it was their common costome, as London prentises use, to follow their maisters upon Sundays to the Church dore and then to leave them, and hie unto the taverne." There are reports of various fights and "affrays," the common victims being foreigners, "night-walkers," or the servants of noblemen who were considered to take on the airs of their superiors. A declaration, in 1576, warned apprentices not to "misuse, molest, or evil treat any servant, page, or lackey of any nobleman, gentleman, or other going in the streets." There were often disturbances after football matches and three young men were put in the local prison for "outrageously and riotously behaving themselves at a football play in Cheapside." But drunken high spirits could turn into something more violent and threatening. Apprentices as well as artisans and children took part in the "evil May-day" riots of 1517, in which the houses of foreigners were ransacked. In the last decade of the sixteenth century there were still more outbreaks of riot and disorder but, unlike other continental cities, London never became unstable or ungovernable.

(By Sam's time) The image of the unruly young apprentice was a potent one, and as a result the civic authorities drew up tightly regulated and organised statutes of labour and discipline. Nothing could be allowed to disrupt commercial harmony. ... Apprentices were forbidden to muster in the streets, drink in the taverns, or wear striking apparel; they were, in addition, allowed only "closely cropped hair."

Alan Kerr  •  Link

three young men were put in the local prison for “outrageously and riotously behaving themselves at a football play in Cheapside.”

Plus ça change...

Bryan M  •  Link

““It is to be observed,” says “The London Gazette,” “to the just vindication of the City, that none of the persons apprehended upon the said tumult were found to be apprentices,..."

Tim Harris (The Bawdy House Riots of 1668, The Historical Journal (1986), 29: 537-556) argues that the size and duration of the riots suggest that they were a political protest motivated by grievances against the policy of religious persectution and against the Court. That fifteen of the ringleaders were charged with high treason suggests that the government also believed the event had a political dimension.

However, the riots were probably not the work of discontented supporter of the "late Rebellion". Harris concludes:
"Although it is impossible to disprove the theory that the riots had been instigated by republican agitators, the government itself seems to have found no firm evidence of this. On the other hand, we do know that the sort of people who were arrested were those very types whom we might expect to have most resented the decision to reimpose the laws against nonconformists, and there is no strong reason to doubt that the riots were a spontaneous (in the sense of self-organized) protest of lower status groups with specific politico-religious grievances."

As to whether "lower status groups with specific politico-religious grievances" constitute "rentamob", I'll follow language hat's advice and leave my present day political biases on my side of the keyboard.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Another POV from Wikipedia:

The 1668 Bawdy House Riots (also called the Messenger riots after rioter Peter Messenger) took place in 17th-century London over several days in March during Easter Week, 1668.[1] They were sparked by Dissenters who resented the King's proclamation against conventicles (private lay worship)[2] while turning a blind eye to the equally illegal brothels.[3] Thousands of young men besieged and demolished brothels throughout the East End, assaulting the prostitutes and looting the properties.[4] As the historian Tim Harris describes it:

"The riots broke out on Easter Monday, 23 March 1668, when a group attacked bawdy houses in Poplar. The next day crowds of about 500 pulled down similar establishments in Moorfields, East Smithfield, St Leonard's, Shoreditch, and also St Andrew's, Holborn, the main bawdy house districts of London. The final assaults came on Wednesday, mainly in the Moorfields area, one report claiming there were now 40,000 rioters - surely an exaggeration, but indicating that abnormally large numbers of people were involved. ... On all days the crowds were supposedly armed with 'iron bars, polaxes, long staves, and other weapons', presumably the sort of tools necessary for house demolition. The rioters organized themselves into regiments, headed by a captain, and marching behind colours."[5]…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"I am resolved to do about Sir J. Minnes before it be long."

You've been saying words to that affect for 5 years, Pepys. Is Mennes in bad financial straights like Batten and Penn, so you don't have the heart to do it? The Duke of York, Carteret and Coventry all agree this needs to happen. Is there no kind way to move him along? Seems like you need a national retirement age so you can have a party instead of exiling someone to France under threat of execution.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

On this slightly discombobulated, Bess-less Lord's day, Sam between going to church twice and to his musique thrice, gives us a glimpse of the Office routine that the Diary otherwise mostly skips: "much work that is not made the work of any one man, but of all, and so is never done". Oh, the interminable, overstuffed meetings that decide nothing, how we can imagine you there, fidgeting and sighing and straining to contradict (yet again) and to offer (yet another) brilliant suggestion. Oh, the misplaced files, the lost invoices, the unopened letters. Of course no diarist is so perverse as to take an hour each night to memorialize those, and the Diary is for the fun and exciting stuff, the Council meetings and such.

So, you want total control? You realize it could require more than the 3-4 hours you currently seem to pull daily in the office, and what that will do to the theater attendance, the musick lessons, the baisers-la and the strolls with the nobility, not to mention the old eyesight?

By coincidence, Middleton today is writing you from Chatham a particularly awesome, 9-page letter, where he lists a good two dozen instances of his appointing such, and negotiating that price, and recommending that you dismiss so and so (everyone, in some cases), and he nailed a notice, and it's all terribly urgent otherwise all these hulks rotting in the estuary since last year will block it for good and it will be "farewell in a short time to the Medway". And it will be your fault! Just that letter could take the whole of tomorrow morning to unpack. And it's only the State Papers, but for every letter to your name in there, there's three or four to "the Commissioners".

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

5 April, Chatham. Commissioner Thos. Middleton to Sam. Pepys. As to Major Nicholl’s charge for raising the wrecks in the river, it is a thing that should be done upon almost any terms, because the longer they remain the greater is the damage to the river; but the charge should be fixed. He says they will not be worth above 300l. when raised; I will undertake to give him 500l. for them, believing they will be worth 1,000l.; all anchors and cables and guns found in them should be delivered to his Majesty. I think Gould the fittest man, and have spoken to him, offering him 4 ships fitted with all materials, but he to provide any further supplies needed. He asks 10 or 12 men at the King’s charge for each ship. I think this would be better than for the King’s stores to be liable to be robbed at the fancy of another. I promised him the bottoms of the wrecks that lay dry at low water. The work must be done, or farewell in a short time to the Medway. For the Vanguard’s bowsprit Gould demanded 60l.; I offered him 30l., which it is worth, and presume he will let you have it if you pay ready money. I have bought oars for the Greenwich, and paid for them. I want calkers, as every ship that comes wants as much joiners’ work as when built.

You cannot do the King better service than to dismiss all the carpenters, boatmen, pursers, and cooks out of the ships so abused, as it will be an example; but as long as such outrages are committed and connived at, it makes the offenders incorrigible, believing that their superiors are like themselves, and so dare not find fault with them. I have ordered a notice to be put up at the gate that the man who absents himself one day without leave shall forfeit 2 days’ work, and if 2 forfeit 4, and if 3 to be made run, and the clerk of the cheque is not to spare any man, either from favour or affection.

Things are not in good order here, for want of a general inspector who knows the duty of every person in the yard. The Greenwich has gone down to-day. The gunner of the Defiance is not found yet. I used to think those at Portsmouth the worst people in the world, but they are saints compared with these at Chatham. I have surveyed the materials in the Hill house, and find many things wanting. Particulars of a survey of the hemp stores. I think the mast-master, though unfit for his place, should not have been dismissed unheard; I will try to find one in his stead. Suggestions of alterations in the officers of the yard.


San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The Duke of Ormonde can't stand being in Ireland, unable to defend himself, any longer:

Ormonde to [Theobald, 2nd Viscount Taaffe of Corren, 1st Earl of] Carlingford
Written from: Dublin
Date: 5 April 1668
Shelfmark: MS. Carte 49, fol(s). 548
Document type: Copy

Resolves to pass into England at the first fair wind. ...
Will make no stop, out of the way [to London], save one at Bretby, to see a child. ...

[The Duke of Ormonde’s daughter, Elizabeth Butler Stanhope, Countess of Chesterfield, was married to Philip. 2nd Earl of Chesterfield, and died in July, 1665 of the plague (according to Philip) or of poison (according to gossip).
They had a daughter, Lady Elizabeth Stanhope, in 1663.
(You’ll recall Philip was Barbara Villiers Palmer’s first beau. And the Countess was James, Duke of York’s mistress, so the parenthood of baby Elizabeth is questionable.)
This sounds as if the Duke is going to visit his granddaughter as the Stanhopes live at Bretby Hall, Derbyshire.
[According to Bill, the Ormondes bring up baby Elizabeth, so perhaps this visit is to rescue his granddaughter from a totally unfit father?… ]…

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