Tuesday 4 August 1668

Up, and to my office a little, and then to White Hall about a Committee for Tangier at my Lord Arlington’s, where, by Creed’s being out of town, I have the trouble given me of drawing up answers to the complaints of the Turks of Algiers, and so I have all the papers put into my hand. Here till noon, and then back to the Office, where sat a little, and then to dinner, and presently to the office, where come to me my Lord Bellassis, Lieutenant-Colonell Fitzgerald, newly come from Tangier, and Sir Arthur Basset, and there I received their informations, and so, they being gone, I with my clerks and another of Lord Brouncker’s, Seddon, sat up till two in the morning, drawing up my answers and writing them fair, which did trouble me mightily to sit up so long, because of my eyes.

16 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the complaints of the Turks of Algiers"

L&M note these complaints were that: the English at Tangier had refused them watering facilities, and had protected ships of those with whom they were at war. John Creed, as secretary to the Tangier Committee, would normally have drafted and written a reply.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"the complaints of the Turks of Algiers"
Terry, your link refers to Morocco;methinks the Turks were indeed the rulers of Algeria at the time.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

A. De Araujo, thanks for the correction.

As far as I can tell at the moment, to oversimplify (after more reading of L&M and Pepysdiary.com), during their tenure in Tangiers, the English have to do with forces of differing ethnic backgrounds on land (Moroccans, Arab and Berber) and on the sea (Algerian, Turks and Berber).

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Diplomat Pepys...

"Sam'l? Who are these people?"

Sam peering out door at the line of turbaned figures in magnificent costumes and veiled sedan chairs...Hmmn...

"A thousand pardons...Have I the honor of addressing His Excellency, Mr. Samuel Pepys, Esquire? Treasurer of the Tangier Committee and Clerk of the Acts of His Royal Majesty's Navy?" Handsome figure in flowing robes, bowing politely.


"I represent his excellency Al-Rashid of Morocco, proclaimed Sultan of Morocco ain Fez, oh, noblest of men."


"Noblest?...Him?" Bess askes, nodding to indicate Sam.


"Indeed, madam. The new and ever-victorious Sultan Al-Rashid was both astounded and gratified to find that England should have placed so wise and capable a man at the helm of international affairs." dignified bow.

Ok...Bess, beaming at Sam...Nice.

"Well, please tell his Excellency that His Majesty's Clerk of the Acts is most pleased that his humble efforts in seeking a fair and just settlement of all concerns was so well taken." Sam, nodding.

"It shall be done, sir. But if I may...His Excellency should like to demonstrate his pleasure at your equitable and just efforts at settlement of all differences by a few simple and trifling gifts."

Now this part I like...Bess, whispering...

"A thousand pounds of pepper and cinnamon..." clap of hands resulting in sample being displayed by row of magnificently costumed servants.

"Worth as much as I think?..." Bess hisses.

"More..." reply. "Well, this is mightly generous of his Excellency..."

"One hundred pearls of the rarest quality..." clap to summon display.

"My necklace at last..." Bess beams...

"Two thousand pounds in gold..." clap...

"It's hurting my eyes...But no matter..."


"And?" Bess, Sam...Half the neighborhood now gathered round.

"Twenty of his Excellency most beautiful slaves...He assumed female would be preferable?"

"Oh, yes..."

Ummn...Quick glance to storm clouds in Bessian form...

"Bess...We can't insult his Excellency...And the poor girls have come such a long way. I'll free them of course."

Though naturally they'll require some source of income...

Female clerks, yes...A brilliantly-forward thinking innovation. And they'd be expert on dealing with Muslim powers...

"And we can use some of that 2000 pounds of gold to send them to America where they can start their new lives...In America." Bess, grimly.

"Certainly, dear...Certainly..."

Gives me a month or so...One delightful lady per day, excepting the Lord's day...Plenty of time.

"Uh...Before I must take my leave, honored one?" the handsome ambassador, gently...Motioning for Sam to join him aside...

"A thousand...Two thousand...Three thousand, one hundred and twenty thanks, sir."

"Yes...Uh, Mr. Pepys. I beg your gracious pardon for mentioning this small matter...But some word of your reputation with the fairer sex has reached the ears of my assistants in England...?"


"The Sultan would, I fear...Take it unkindly if the young ladies were to be roughly handled, sir. A thousand pardons, sir."

"The Sultan...Would consider my handling of women...His slave concubines?..."

"Detailed word has reached us, sir. Again ten thousand pardons. In the interests of continued good international relations, honored sir. Your dear wife's suggestion does have considerable merit, sir."


Oh, well...Sam eyes veiled sedan chairs...


martinb  •  Link

If his eyes keep failing him like this, he might be reduced to groping around for things with his fingers.

kim Oliver  •  Link

I am writing a newletter for the Adjunct Faculty and Alumni of the SUNY College of Optometry. The current topic is Mr. Pepys vision problems. In fact, one of the authors cited in the article "Pepys Big Brown Eyes" is one of the College's faculty (Groffman). I did not find any specific topics (under health or otherwise) about Pepys vision problems.

I am a lurker an have been reading this diary since it started. My "call" name is Pepyspal, which, in truth I surely am. Can you help?

Mary  •  Link


When searching the diary for references to Pepys' problems with his eyes, reference to the Latham & Mathews Companion volume to the diary, page 174ff, may help.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

'Charles II: August 1668', in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles II, 1667-8, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1893), pp. 516-565. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/…

Aug. 4. 1668
The Monmouth, Spithead.
Sir Thos. Allin to the Navy Commissioners.

Again urges the sending down some colours, that they may not be the cause
of his stay;
wants a store of glass for mending the windows.

Believes the Sovereign will set sail to-day, she having fired a ???? hauled home her foretopsail sheets.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 244, No. 84.]

Aug. 4. 1668
St. James's Palace.
M. Wren to the Navy Commissioners.

Sends a document, by order of his Royal Highness,
and desires them to provide the Tiger with such sails as she needs,
and to hasten aboard the victuals for Sir Thos. Allin’s fleet.
Sir Jer. Smith complains that the provisions for the ships that are to join that
fleet come slowly down.

Asks whether the Assurance and Dover shall be laid up at Chatham or in the
both are in the Downs, and in so ill condition that the remainder of their
voyage should be as short as possible.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 244, No. 85.]

Aug. 4. 1668
Capt. Ch. O. Bryen to the Navy Commissioners.

I send a list of tickets belonging to men aboard my ship,
with an account of men remaining of those turned over from the Charles.

I hope if I am to receive money for them here, you will order it speedily,
as my Lord Ambassador has just come aboard, and desires to sail with all

The master, Mr. Rogers, having fallen sick, shall I proceed with him, or wait until you send another?
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 244, No. 86.]
Which Ambassador would this be? Several seem to be on the move.

Aug. 4. 1668
Rich. Watts to [Williamson].

The Duke of Lenox, Lieutenant-General of Kent, came to Canterbury, where he was met at the city gates by the trained companies and some persons of quality.
He is staying at Deal Castle, and intends for Dover to-morrow.

The harvest is begun and comes in apace.
The corn is good and plentiful everywhere.

The merchant ships that came home are all gone up.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 244, No. 92.]
Curious, Charles Stuart, the 6th “Duke of Lennox” is generally referred to as
the 3rd “Duke of Richmond”.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Which Ambassador would this be? Several seem to be on the move."

Later I find that Sir Daniel Harvey, Ambassador to the Grand Seignor, and his retinue of 26 persons left Deal for Turkey on 15 Aug. 1668
See Vol. 245, Nos. 1 and 126 infra.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Creed’s being out of town"

Out of town celebrating and/or preparing for his marriage to Lady Betty Pickering? This additional work only increases Pepys' pique on the subject of Mr. Creed.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I wonder if this is linked to the right Arthur Bassett? The link goes to Sir Arthur Bassett, MP, an excellent Royalist from a leading West Country family, who was no longer serving in Parliament.

In the 1660's he was dealing in local politics in Barnstaple. I've posted the highlights from his Parliamentary bio. in our Encyclopedia, but since he never had anything to do with Tangier, I'm not adding it here.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Nope ... I'm wrong again. Sir Arthur Bassettv MP was an older man, and his Parliamentary bio cautions that he had a cousin by the same name, and they often become confused.


According to
Major Arthur Bassett had a regiment at Tangiers at the time in question.

says that Arthur Bassett had fought for the French in the past, and that one of the problems in Tangiers was a shortage of commissioned officers. Death, sickness and shortage of supplies made it a very undesireable station. During this posting half the troops died.

Now we know why he was in Pepys' interview.

Matt Newton  •  Link

Another sad reference to eyesight.
Often linked to writing or reading but did his problem extend to identifying people?

Timo  •  Link

😵🔨 When Robert Gertz’ waffle is 365 words longer than Pepys’ own entry.

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