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.

9 Annotations

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.

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