Friday 27 November 1668

Up, and with W. Hewer to see W. Coventry again, but missed him again, by coming too late, the man of [all] the world that I am resolved to preserve an interest in. Thence to White Hall, and there at our usual waiting on the Duke of York; and that being done, I away to the Exchequer, to give a stop, and take some advice about my lost tally, wherein I shall have some remedy, with trouble, and so home, and there find Mr. Povy, by appointment, to dine with me; where a pretty good dinner, but for want of thought in my wife it was but slovenly dressed up; however, much pleasant discourse with him, and some serious; and he tells me that he would, by all means, have me get to be a Parliament-man the next Parliament, which he believes there will be one, which I do resolve of. By and by comes my cozen Roger, and dines with us; and, after dinner, did seal his mortgage, wherein I do wholly rely on his honesty, not having so much as read over what he hath given me for it, nor minded it, but do trust to his integrity therein. They all gone, I to the office and there a while, and then home to ease my eyes and make my wife read to me.

22 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

John Evelyn's Diary

27th November, 1668. I dined at my Lord Ashley's (since Earl of Shaftesbury), when the match of my niece was proposed for his only son, in which my assistance was desired for my Lord.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury, was, like John Evelyn and Lord Sandwich, elected FRS in 1663.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...but for want of thought in my wife it was but slovenly dressed up;..." Whoa...I don't care if she can't read the Diary...Yet...Playing with Death, Sam.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"my lost tally..." If it was Will Hewer who lost it yesterday, very sweet that Sam, even in the Diary where he could berate Will ceaselessly without giving hurt, takes it on himself without a thought. Of course that may change should Parliament or the new Commissioners suddenly get curious about it.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

What might it mean for dinner to be "but slovenly dressed up"?

Mark S  •  Link

Johnson's Dictionary: Dress - 10. To prepare victuals for the table.

I think it means here that the the meal, though ample and consisting of good quality food, was badly prepared.

Mary  •  Link

Meat not neatly sliced for service? Yesterday's stale bread being offered rather than a fresh loaf? The lack of thought attributed to Elizabeth could imply that the meal was served in an everyday-family-only way rather than elegantly presented. Pepys isn't actually complaining that it's overcooked or undercooked.

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

Does anyone know how distinctive a 1000pound tally would be ? Presumably, in any case, the thief or finder would need to have a fairly convincing story to explain how he/she came by it. In modern terms it would be much like finding a million pound note in the street.

languagehat  •  Link

Well, they're from 400 years earlier, so I doubt they much resemble Sam's.

arby  •  Link

Thanks, Mary, I had imagined them somewhat longer. It's easier to imagine how he might have lost one.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

And it is Thomas Povy, the most elegant gentleman in London to whom Sam is offering the "slovenly dressed dinner"...That's got to hurt Sam's pretention bone, though Povy has always seemed a very kind-hearted and generous man.

Mary  •  Link

Tally sticks.

Well, I did say "may" and "a little." There's always the chance that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" obtained throughout and that these instruments didn't change greatly in either size or appearance.

Does anyone know whether the tally-stick system was imported into north America and, if so, whether any examples survive?

Michael Wright  •  Link

Tally Sticks.
I think that page from the National Archives answers a number of questions. I agree with Mary that it's likely that the basic system didn't change, so a thousand-pound tally stick will be a standard stick with the one grand notch in it.

The clever part is that Exchequer kept a counterfoil, in the shape of nearly a half of the stick, so it could be matched with the one the punter is carrying. Protection against forgery, because the two parts have to match perfectly, so it's the same protection as the chirographic form of contracts (a jagged cut through the paper/vellum which has two copies of the contract on it), or the postcard roughly torn into two that's such a feature of spy stories. The tallies also seem to have been labelled, but the matching would be the clincher, and what enables Pepys to get his problem fixed up; though certainly with a lot of work, roughly like cancelling a cheque, but doing it through one of the world's most persistent bureaucracies.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"[ Mr Povey ] tells me that he would, by all means, have me get to be a Parliament-man the next Parliament, which he believes there will be one,"

L&M note Pepys's parliamentary ambitions had been kindled by the success of his speech to the Commons last March.… There was no new Parliament until 1679, but Pepys stood, unsuccessfully, at a bye-election for Aldeburgh, Suff, in the summer of 1669. He sat in Parliament for Castle Rising, Norf.,1673-9 and for Harwich in 1679 and 1685-7, unsuccessfully contesting the latter again in 1689.

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

Thanks Mary, et al. That explains why Sam was fairly calm about the loss - more of an embarrassment, really.

languagehat  •  Link

"Well, I did say “may” and “a little.” There’s always the chance that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” obtained throughout and that these instruments didn’t change greatly in either size or appearance."

Oh, sure, and I didn't mean to denigrate your images, for which I'm very grateful; I just suspect that although the basic idea and form probably continued, the actual appearance probably changed over the centuries (in other words, if Sam saw those images, he'd probably think "how medieval!" rather than "is one of them mine?").

Second Reading

Tonyel  •  Link

Tally sticks, etc. I recall being told of a group of extremely wealthy Australian sheep farmers coming to a London restaurant in the 1930's and handing a torn half of a £50 note to the maitre'd.
"We expect a good time. If so, you get the other half - if not, I'll burn it in front of yer eyes."

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