Friday 30 October 1668

Up betimes; and Mr. Povy comes to even accounts with me, which we did, and then fell to other talk. He tells, in short, how the King is made a child of, by Buckingham and Arlington, to the lessening of the Duke of York, whom they cannot suffer to be great, for fear of my Lord Chancellor’s return, which, therefore, they make the King violent against. That he believes it is impossible these two great men can hold together long: or, at least, that the ambition of the former is so great, that he will endeavour to master all, and bring into play as many as he can. That Anglesey will not lose his place easily, but will contend in law with whoever comes to execute it. That the Duke of York, in all things but in his cod-piece, is led by the nose by his wife. That W. Coventry is now, by the Duke of York, made friends with the Duchess; and that he is often there, and waits on her. That he do believe that these present great men will break in time, and that W. Coventry will be a great man again; for he do labour to have nothing to do in matters of the State, and is so usefull to the side that he is on, that he will stand, though at present he is quite out of play. That my Lady Castlemayne hates the Duke of Buckingham. That the Duke of York hath expressed himself very kind to my Lord Sandwich, which I am mighty glad of. That we are to expect more changes if these men stand. This done, he and I to talk of my coach, and I got him to go see it, where he finds most infinite fault with it, both as to being out of fashion and heavy, with so good reason that I am mightily glad of his having corrected me in it; and so I do resolve to have one of his build, and with his advice, both in coach and horses, he being the fittest man in the world for it, and so he carried me home, and said the same to my wife. So I to the office and he away, and at noon I home to dinner, and all the afternoon late with Gibson at my chamber about my present great business, only a little in the afternoon at the office about Sir D. Gawden’s accounts, and so to bed and slept heartily, my wife and I at good peace, but my heart troubled and her mind not at ease, I perceive, she against and I for the girle, to whom I have not said anything these three days, but resolve to be mighty strange in appearance to her.

This night W. Batelier come and took his leave of us, he setting out for France to-morrow.

23 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Coach via Thomas Povy, the 17th Century's arbiter of elegance...Now if Sam would just cough up a few of those Tangier profits in gratitude.

"But Pepys, the Treasurer's position always yielded me a comfortable profit..."

"Well, Povy...I'd not bring that up at the next Committee meeting lest unfortunate questions be asked. Truly, I weep for us both, Thomas. But many thanks on the coach advice..."


Terry Foreman  •  Link

"W. Batelier come and took his leave of us, he setting out for France to-morrow."

He was a wine merchant in the Bordeaux trade. (L&M note)

Mary  •  Link


George Villiers and Barbara Villiers are ambitiouus cousins (though not, I think, first cousins).

Mary  •  Link

Buying a coach.

Doesn't this just make you think of two modern men discussing which make and model of car one of them should buy? There always seems to be one friend who 'really knows what he's talking about' and is only too ready to point out the disadvantages attached to the model first proposed.

languagehat  •  Link

"He tells, in short, how the King is made a child of, by Buckingham"

I've been reading Catherine Drinker Bowen's (wonderful) The Lion and the Throne: The Life and Times of Sir Edward Coke, in which Buckingham's father, the first Duke, also named George Villiers, plays an equally prominent and destructive role. A cursed family!

jeannine  •  Link

I adore theses posts-the alliances are always shuffling about, the back stabbing ongoing, etc. I actually think that although Sam's peers think that Charles is a fool, that maybe this is how he likes to run his kingdom---keeping everyone ill at ease, suspicious of each other and toiling around as on and off friends and foes. If parties are played against each other then Charles stands a better chance of not letting any real alliances form against him. I can't help but wonder if he doesn't drop litte comments, etc. to charge up the insecurities of the troops!

Glyn  •  Link

Someone once told me that in terms of expense, Pepys buying a coach wasn't the same as buying a used automobile, but more like buying a used helicopter.

And of course, he'll need to hire at least one person to drive it.

Mary  •  Link

The expense of a coach.

He's also going to need a coach-house (rent and/or upkeep to be found) and either a horse and stabling (with someone to look after both) or a reliable source of horses kept at livery for hire. Farrier's bills, horse-doctor's bills, bills for fodder. Add the cost of coach-maintenance and occasional bills from the harness-maker and it could all add up nicely.

Kevin Peter  •  Link

I'm assuming that the coachmaker hasn't yet started on Sam's coach at this point, and that Sam is showing Povy a coach just like the one he ordered. Changing the design in the middle of construction can get very costly.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Mr. Povy comes to even accounts with me, which we did, and then fell to other talk"

L&M note Thomas Povey knew the Duke of York's household well, having been the Duke's comptroller until 1666.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

'Entry Book: October 1668', in Calendar of Treasury Books, Volume 2, 1667-1668, ed. William A Shaw (London, 1905), pp. 623-630. British History Online…

Oct. 30 1668
Same for 41,560/. 4s. 5d.
to Sir Robert Vyner, King's goldsmith,
for jewels and plate, &c., detailed.
Treasury Miscellanea Warrants Early XXXIV. pp. 238–9.

Oct. 30 1668
Treasury warrant to the Customs Farmers
for 30 tuns of wine, duty free,
to the French Ambassador.
Treasury Outletters Miscellaneous I. p. 135.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The volume of Domestic State Papers covering correspondence from Oct. 1668 to Dec. 1669 is at…

Oct. 30 1668.
Capt. Abra. Ansley and his 3 partners, to the Navy Commissioners.

Have brought their ships into the docks, and desire orders for their reparation, and whether to discharge them or keep them in pay until repaired.

Attempted to weigh the pink, but find her so far sunk that she breaks in pieces;
judge it necessary to clear her of her lading and the mud and ballast, and then, as the charge of keeping 5 hired vessels named on the works is too great, to
discharge them all, and to request the use of 2 others [of the King's ships] for
perfecting the work;

will also reduce the number of their men to ease the charge.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 248, No. 113.]

Oct. 30 1668.
Account of the train of artillery in the new storehouse at the Artillery Ground,
viz., 4+ pieces of brass ordnance mounted on travelling carriages,
and 9 brass mortars also mounted.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 248, No. 114.]

Oct. 30 1668.
to pay to Thos. Sanders 10,000/., viz., 3,957/. 8s. 3d. for pay and clothes for
several companies of horse, and the rest as he shall be directed by sign manual;

with directions for vacating a privy seal for pay of the 10 companies late under
command of Lord Wentworth.
[Docquet, Vol. 23, No. 270.]

Oct. 30 1668.
to pay to Thos. White from the hearth money 4,000/.,
with interest at 6 per cent., which sum is due to him by assignment,
because the Poll Act, on which it was charged in part of 1,277,500/. due to
Sir George Carteret for the Navy, was not sufficient to bear the same.
[Docquet, Vol. 23, No. 270.]

Oct. 30 1668.
Warrant to pay to Sir Rob. Vyner, the King's goldsmith, 41,560/. 4s. 5d.
for divers chains, medals, and other gold work, delivered to the Jewel House,
from 25 Aug. 1664 to 24 June 1668.
[Docquet, Vol. 23, No. 270.]

Oct. 30 1668.
Treasury, Whitehall
Sir Geo. Downing to Williamson.

The reason why you have no return of the money taken from some Zealand
prisoners in Ireland is because the Treasury were forced to send to Ireland for it.

As to Lord Dungannon's business,
the Treasury Comissioners were not mentioned in the Order of Council,
which is always done in matters they are to take notice of,
so I return the order for amendment;
I will then move in the business.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 248, No. 115.]
On 28 August 1662 Lt. Gen. Marcus Trevor, Ranger of Ulster was created Viscount Dungannon of Tyrone and Baron Trevor of Rostrevor, and in 1664 was appointed as Gov. of County Down.…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"That the Duke of York, in all things but in his cod-piece, is led by the nose by his wife."

Nicely said, Pepys! I can't believe I'm the first person to remark on that line.

John G  •  Link

Yes SDS. I thoroughly agree!
Marvelous comment by SP and strange that there have been no previous remarks here.
Best wishes Susan from Sydney, Down Under.

Dorothy  •  Link

"That the Duke of York, in all things but in his cod-piece, is led by the nose by his wife."

Poor man! The image of being pulled one way by the nose and the other by ---- . Well, I'm an old-fashioned lady so I don't say it. But I can't imagine a more uncomfortable situation!

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Sam thanks to brother Thomas has narrowly averted the most dreadfull disaster. Pray imagine, if you can, arriving at these temples of fashion where our CoA likes to see and be seen by the Quality - the theaters, Unthanke's, the Pell-Mell, glittering French dinners in Islington, the Duke's - in something "out of fashion and heavy"? The disdainful doormen directing him to the trade entrance, the impatient catcalls from other drivers ("move it, grandpa, you're taking all the street"), the cruel jests at the Society - whose chief interests include improving coaches and their suspension ("a most interesting presentation by Mr. Pepys on the Historie of Ox-cartes"), the ladies unwilling to clamber aboard ("my physician is definite that I should walk in the rain once a week"). Why not go about in a frill and pilgrim hat, too, maybe with a sign saying "I'm a dull accountant and have no ambition"? Why not move right away to Brampton?

The faux-pas would be all the worse for the late 1660s being, as for pocket-watches and calculators, an epoch of fairly sudden and rapid innovation in coach design, an art in which England had stood still for some time and was now catching up to France. For a terrifying comparison between a modern, streamlined Charles II coach and a dinosaurian Charles I design, turn to page 112 of Ralph Straus' stunningly comprehensive "Carriages & Coaches: Their History & Their Evolution" (London, 1912), which our book-seller Mr. Google displays at…

Could Sam, who had done quite a bit of research and knew his steel-rimmed wheels and his thoroughbrace suspensions, have really fallen for a Charles I? Today's Diary entry is all Straus found on the matter. He comments, at page 128: "It was felt, no doubt, that fashion in carriages as in everything else would speedily change. Mr. Pepys must have found considerable difficulty in making up his mind. The new chariots were small, light and, so far as he knew, most fashionable; but possibly they were not quite to his taste, and equally possibly they might not be fashionable in ten years’ time." And Sam, with his wall-hangings &c., is more conservative bourgeois than rake, after all. "Also they perhaps lacked the solid dignity of the older carriages, and were less likely to attract public attention—two important considerations." And in the rutted, rubble-strewn London streets, solid dignity may indeed be more advisable than flimsy elegance. "In the end, however, he seems to have chosen a large coach of the old style. Mr. Povey saw it, and poor Pepys knew at once that a dreadful mistake had been made."

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Why not go about in a frill and pilgrim hat, too, maybe with a sign saying "I'm a dull accountant and have no ambition"?

Funny as this picture is, I don't think Stephane is exagerating.
Pepys' career didn't take off until he started dressing for success.
It took an act of will for him not to remove his hat when his former boss appeared to testify before a panel he was on, but if he had removed it, he would have lost the respect of the group.
How you presented yourself to 'people of quality' dictated then ... as now ... how you will be treated.
A coach will indicate that he is no fool and can work the system as well as everyone else. It cements his place as a player at the big stakes table.

Of course, idiots could wear fancy clothes and drive around in pretty chariots ... plenty did then, and do now. Charles II knew how to use them, and I suspect they get taken to the cleaners today as well.

Americans will have trouble understanding the above. The game's the same ... flash your Rolex even though and have holes in the right places in your jeans.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Lying in bed next to becalmed Mrs Pepys, Sam in the quiet of the night listens to the whispers in his head, of what he secretly thinks as the "People from the Future". Tonight they seem to phant'sy choosing his coach... How droll, and they seem to agree with Povy. But he can't decide. How difficult to navigate are the currents of the aristocracy! You look too austere and you're a Roundhead, too flash and you're above your station. You have to find just the right balance. Consider Sir Joseph Williamson, all subdued elegance and discreet professionalism in his portrait at…, contrast him with his boss Arlington and all his ribbons at…. Flash and young and you're a rake they'll try to drag into their games...

He knows how dear Knepp would react. "Why Sammy, is that your coach? How a-do-ra-ble, it's so vintage, I just a-do-re it, it reminds me of when I was a little girl". Hmm. But it's cheap, at £50. But it's heavy, and the extra horses would eat the price difference with the lighter one. And turning into narrow Seething Lane with that wagon... Hmm. But the newer coach would scream "new money". Hmm... gotta choose soon... Zzzz.

Harry R  •  Link

Thanks yet again Stephane and Sarah for your excellent and funny annotations. Rib-tickling stuff. Still it's hard to comprehend how Sam and perhaps Bess more so could have got it so wrong about their coach. Straus's old and new illustrations are as contrasting as a 1960's Mini and a current model.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Indeed, and Straus' choice of illustrations make the matter easy to comment upon, but in fairness we don't know that it's all the choice Sam was offer'd. In 1668 there are quite a few coach-makers, and they may all have their catalogs and conventions exist, but since Mr. Ford's black Model T is still far in the future and everything is made to order, the variety could be infinite.

It could, but was it? There aren't a lot of extant coaches, or contemporary street views showing enough of them, that are precisely dated, clear and not about stage-coaches or royal carriages. Mr Google has shown us "Hackney coaches in London, 1637" (https://cartographicperspectives.…), where they do look all the same and are indeed boxy four-wheelers, as well as a post-Fire engraving of "the second Royal Exchange, Cornhill" (…), which has 4-5 that look like the nimbler Charles II chariots and also kinda all look the same. Other examples would be nice to find. What Mr Google had to show when we queried his image collection on "Sam Pepys coach" was quite a surprise, but didn't help resolve the issue.

Harry R  •  Link

Mr Google will have noted our interest in Sam Pepys coach and will no doubt have advised Messrs Peloton thereof.

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