Friday 24 July 1668

Up, and by water to St. James’s, having, by the way, shewn Symson Sir W. Coventry’s chimney-pieces, in order to the making me one; and there, after the Duke of York was ready, he called me to his closet; and there I did long and largely show him the weakness of our Office, and did give him advice to call us to account for our duties, which he did take mighty well, and desired me to draw up what I would have him write to the Office. I did lay open the whole failings of the Office, and how it was his duty to find them, and to find fault with them, as Admiral, especially at this time, which he agreed to, and seemed much to rely on what I said. Thence to White Hall, and there waited to attend the Council, but was not called in, and so home, and after dinner back with Sir J. Minnes by coach, and there attended, all of us, the Duke of York, and had the hearing of Mr. Pett’s business, the Master-Shipwright at Chatham, and I believe he will be put out. But here Commissioner Middleton did, among others, shew his good-nature and easiness to the Masters-Attendants, by mitigating their faults, so as, I believe, they will come in again. So home, and to supper and to bed, the Duke of York staying with us till almost night.


21 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Fireplace mantel or mantelpiece, also known as a chimneypiece, originated in medieval times as a hood that projected over a grate to catch the smoke. The term has evolved to include the decorative framework around the fireplace, and can include elaborate designs extending to the ceiling. Mantelpiece is now the general term for the jambs, mantel shelf, and external accessories of a fireplace. For many centuries, the chimneypiece was the most ornamental and most artistic feature of a room http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fireplace_mantel

Chimney-pieces -- period of Inigo Jones (1573-1652)

Circa 1620
http://www.colonialfurniture.us/images/history/hi…

Circa 1640
http://www.colonialfurniture.us/images/history/hi…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"....there I did long and largely show him the weakness of our Office, and did give him advice to call us to account for our duties, which he did take mighty well, and desired me to draw up what I would have him write to the Office. I did lay open the whole failings of the Office, and how it was his duty to find them, and to find fault with them, as Admiral, especially at this time, which he agreed to, and seemed much to rely on what I said."

The New Master displays his skill with light saber... "Coventry has trained you well, Master Pepys."

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I believe, they will come in again"

SPOILER-- The recurring pattern of ouster and return will apply to Phineas Pett, who will be dismissed 28 September for what L&M call "fraudulent practices," but he will be reinstated in November and thereafter flourish, as a mouseover of his link above will show. (Notably, this pattern does not apply to Clarendon.)

Carl in Boston  •  Link

For many centuries, the chimneypiece was the most ornamental and most artistic feature of a room
I have a fireplace insert coming, to burn wood pellets (common and cheap in New England) and I have in mind to install foam plastic mantelpiece parts molded from Renaissance fireplaces over the brick. Such a mantel it could be, and meeting code as long as I observe setback. I have used foam architectural parts before, and they look like a million dollars.
So home, and to supper and to bed, the Duke of York staying with us till almost night. I can scarcely believe His Highness the Prince would hang around Pepys' house of an evening. What a world.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"I did lay open the whole failings of the Office"
A dangerous game, sure to create enemies among his fellow commissioners when they find out about it. It probably stood him in good stead when James became king, but their closeness was a disaster for Sam after 1688.

Jenny  •  Link

I doubt very much that the Duke of York would visit the Pepys' house. On reading carefully through the convoluted passage I am sure that the Duke of York was at the office until late.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The Duke of York "desired me to draw up what I would have him write to the Office."

L&M note this prompts what Pepys will call "the Duke's great letter."

Bryan M  •  Link

DoY - Sam's place or the Office?

Neither, White Hall:

"Thence to White Hall ... and after dinner back with Sir J. Minnes by coach, and there attended ... the Duke of York".

Sam & Co were at the beck and call of the DoY and had to fit in with his schedule. Remember the Stuarts believed in the divine right of kings.

jenny  •  Link

Yes, Bryan M, of course that is where they attended on the Duke of York.

The "great letter" is so interesting. Office politics and Sam's genuine desire to improve the Navy. Wonderful stuff.

Michael L  •  Link

As Sam's relationship with the Duke of York grows, it becomes easier to understand Sam's persistent loyalty to him after the events of 1688.

Carl in Boston  •  Link

Persistent loyalty of Sam to the Duke of York after 1688. Sam was a standup guy, and went down with the ship. Besides, he could retire and do something equally interesting with the rest of his days, such as catalog his books and write memoirs.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I think Sam was also rather trapped in the position of loyalist. He'd nailed his career to the mast of the Stuart flagship long ago solidly enough to leave him a marked man for the nascent Whigs and he lacked the sort of independent power base that would have allowed him to offer the Williamites anything besides his (aging) expertise and the abject betrayal of James and colleagues...Which Sam had had experience seeing did not usually pay off too well in the end for those without some independent support. Not to say he wasn't displaying courage and principle but I think he realized he had little to gain from trying to join the other side at that point. Fortunately the times were different, William was shrewd and cautious in his acts against Jacobites, and Sam did not end up wearing Henry Vane's crown of martyrdom.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the hearing of Mr. Pett’s business, the Master-Shipwright at Chatham, and I believe he will be put out."

L&M: SPOILER- Phineas Pett was accused of fraudulent practices and was dismissed on 28 September. But he was reinstated in November and thereafter prospered, becoming Navy Commissioner and Comptroller of the Stores (1680-5), and Commissioner at Chatham (1685-9). He was knighted in 1680.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The Phineas Pett paperwork, completed recently:

'Charles II: July 1668', in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles II, 1667-8, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1893), pp. 469-516. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-paper…

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July 23. 1668
Papers relating to Phineas Pett, master shipwright at Chatham Yard, viz.:

Examination of John Bowyer of Chatham, shipwright, taken before Sir John Mennes, Navy Comptroller.

I entered into partnership with Phineas Pett, 20 Dec. 1667, for management of a shipwright’s yard at Gillingham, and for buying timber, each to have an equal share of the profits;
I agreed with Sir Humphey Miller for 90 loads of oak, at 38s. a load, which timber, by procurement of Pett, was sold to his Majesty by John Moorcock of Chatham, shipwright, as Moorcock’s own timber, at 48s a load, to be delivered into the yard at Chatham;
the charge of transporting it, 2s. a load, was paid by Phineas Pett, and 20s. in money, and the like value in timber given as a reward to Moorcock for his owning the timber.

This 90 loads being disposed of and each of us paying 25/., in part payment to Sir Humphrey Miller, we bought 200 loads more of him, which was sold in like manner to the King, but I know not for how much;

I believe Mr. Pett intended to defraud me of my part of the profit.

I acknowledge my error in being instrumental in carrying a piece of mast out of Chatham Yard to our yard at Gillingham, but I believe Pett knows nothing of it;
an anchor-stock lying before our yard was taken out of the King’s yard, and carried there by Thos. Eason, Mr. Pett’s servant;
I think the new crab found in our yard was made in his Majesty’s yard, as having the mark on it, but I know not how it came into our yards.
July 11,
Chatham Hill House.
[2 pages. S.P. Dom., Car. II. 243, No. 115.]
---
Examination of Wm. Wilkins and 2 other shipwrights before Sir John Mennes, Comptroller, and Thos. Middleton, Surveyor of the Navy.

Were employed by John Bowyer, foreman of the yard at Chatham, to take a piece of mast from the yard, and leave it at his own yard at Gillingham; did so, not knowing but that it was for the King’s use.
July 23,
Navy Office.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 243, No. 116.]
---
Like examination of John Browne and James Gibbins, sawyers.
A piece of mast was brought in June to Mr. Bowyer’s yard, to be cut into board;
it was brought back to his Majesty’s yard by order of the Surveyor, being then at Chatham.
July 23,
Navy Office.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 243, No. 117.]
---

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Abstract of the evidence in support of the above charge of Mr, Pett’s breach of trust,
in using a piece of mast, crabb, and an anchor-stock belonging to the service, in his and Bowyer’s own yard at Gillingham,
and the fallacy of Pett’s pretext that the partnership with Bowyer was broken off;

also of the evidence in support of a charge of breach of the rule by which the King’s officers are prohibited selling goods to his Majesty;
showing that he purchased timber of Sir Humphrey Miller at 38s. per load, and sold it to the Navy at 48s. and 58s., through John Moorecock, to whom he gave 20s. in money, and as much in timber;
showing that he made a larger profit by it than 3s. a load as he pretended, that he bought it on purpose to sell to the King, and that it was purchased by the Navy Commissioners at a high price on his recommendation;

also that he pleaded for immoderate favor in measuring it, as proved by Mr. Wilson’s letter of 26 June.

With note that Col. Middleton affirmed to the Board that he was led to advise them to buy the timber, by Mr. Pett’s insisting to him upon the quality and want of it, and the reasonableness of the price demanded.
[6 paged. S.P. Dom Car. II. 243, No. 118.]
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Considering his uncle/father/cousin/brother has just been impeached, you'd think Phineas would be smarter than this.

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July 24. 1668
List
of 24 printers, or printing offices;
4 printers’ widows;
8 printers who were masters at the time of the passing of the Act [of 14 Charles II. for regulation of printing], but disabled by the fire;
and 4 who have set up since the Act, and contrary to it.
[S.P Dom., Car. II. 243, No. 126.]

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July 24. 1668 -- 5 p.m.
Rushall, near Tunbridge Wells.
Lord Keeper Bridgeman to Williamson.

I find my mistake touching Monaco, but it was Mr. Treasurer’s letter which gave me encouragement about it.

If the ratification from Sweden comes, it shall not be detained half-an-hour.

I will write more by Sir Wm. Temple, who is now with me about his business and instructions.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 243, No. 127.]

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... and there attended, all of us, the Duke of York, and had the hearing of Mr. Pett’s business, the Master-Shipwright at Chatham, and I believe he will be put out. But here Commissioner Middleton did, among others, shew his good-nature and easiness to the Masters-Attendants, by mitigating their faults, so as, I believe, they will come in again. ... the Duke of York staying with us till almost night."

I think James was impressed by Pepys' assessment of what was needed in the way of a shake-up at the Navy Board, because the Commissions are only looking at the finances and what went wrong with the Second Anglo-Dutch War. By proposing a restructuring, James is handed a way of taking his power back from the Commissions and reestablishing who is the boss.
As a good administrator, he takes Pepys' observations and spends some time observing, asking questions, and assessing their validity for himself.

Commissioner Middleton was in charge of the Portsmouth dockyards during the War ... quite ruthlessly if you read his bio ... so I can understand his reluctance to condemn the the Masters-Attendants, for which I read shipbuilding skilled craftsmen.
Both Cromwell and Charles II kept on the same shipbuilders, regardless of their politics and religion. The Americans also used German rocket scientists to reach the moon. Some people are just too important to find much fault with.

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