Wednesday 2 December 1668

Up, and at the office all the morning upon some accounts of Sir D. Gawden, and at noon abroad with W. Hewer, thinking to have found Mr. Wren at Captain Cox’s, to have spoke something to him about doing a favour for Will’s uncle Steventon, but missed him. And so back home and abroad with my wife, the first time that ever I rode in my own coach, which do make my heart rejoice, and praise God, and pray him to bless it to me and continue it. So she and I to the King’s playhouse, and there sat to avoid seeing Knepp in a box above where Mrs. Williams happened to be, and there saw “The Usurper;” a pretty good play, in all but what is designed to resemble Cromwell and Hugh Peters, which is mighty silly. The play done, we to White Hall; where my wife staid while I up to the Duchesse’s and Queen’s side, to speak with the Duke of York: and here saw all the ladies, and heard the silly discourse of the King, with his people about him, telling a story of my Lord Rochester’s having of his clothes stole, while he was with a wench; and his gold all gone, but his clothes found afterwards stuffed into a feather bed by the wench that stole them. I spoke with the Duke of York, just as he was set down to supper with the King, about our sending of victuals to Sir Thomas Allen’s fleet hence to Cales [Cadiz] to meet him. And so back to my wife in my coach, and so with great content and joy home, where I made my boy to make an end of the Reall Character, which I begun a great while ago, and do please me infinitely, and indeed is a most worthy labour, and I think mighty easy, though my eyes make me unable to attempt any thing in it.

To-day I hear that Mr. Ackworth’s cause went for him at Guildhall, against his accusers, which I am well enough pleased with.

11 Annotations

First Reading

Glyn  •  Link

Is this the entry with the fewest number of annotations?

I thought it was an interesting day, with Sam trying to avoid seeing Mistress Knypp (or being seen by her?), his first ride in his coach (really?) and a bawdy anecdote about Lord Rochester.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

" “The Usurper;” a pretty good play, in all but what is designed to resemble Cromwell and Hugh Peters, which is mighty silly."

L&M: Damocles was supposed to represent Cromwell; and Hugo de Petro, Peters, the most prominent of Cromwell's ary Chaplains. According to Genest (i.72) , Cleomenes may have been intended as Monck.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

" about our sending of victuals to Sir Thomas Allen’s fleet hence to Cales [Cadiz] to meet him."

Allin in fact took the victuals on board not at Cadiz, but at Tangier, on 15 Feburuary 1669: Allin, ii.85. (L&M)

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Gawden had written to Sam yesterday from the Victualling Office, to "entreat you to look over the memorial that you took when the draft of the contract was before the Treasury Commissioners, and corrected and amended with the consent of all sides. I think the point as to necessary money in the fair draft does not concur with what was agreed on; I wish the paper enclosed to be considered and agreed on against Monday, as the Attorney-General cannot draw the contract until that be done" [State Paper, 250 No. 9, at…]. It does look complicated enough to take up the whole morning; Sam may want to enable the "track changes" function in Word.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

The morning's business perhaps also had something to do with a letter which Gauden's partner Admiral Sir William Penn had sent on November 30 to the Commissioners [State Papers, 249 No. 189], suggesting they "should appoint a person to examine and cast up the papers and accounts that have not passed your view". Though Penn silkily assures them "doubt[ing] not that all faithfulness and diligence has been used", he sighs that errors may well creep in given the accounts' "variety and intricacy", and has noted in passing that "many" of the victualler's accounts "were never produced but at this juncture of time". Hence, in all likelihood, a bit of a scramble to check if there's any major time-bomb, as Gauden's contract and all things Gauden are about to receive more senior attention than usual. The Attorney General at this time is Thomas Povey, whose record (at…) as not terribly competent, bent on formalities and not hugely friendly to Sam, suggest it's best indeed not to give him anything unseemly to trip upon in Gauden's contract or accounts.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Oh, and Allin's victualling. That other admiral is presently on a mission to clean up the western Med a bit of all those Barbary pyrates, who molest good Christian vessels and, incidentally, serve as one of the Sultan's levers should he need to send anyone messages on, for instance, not interfering with his besieging of the Venetians at Candia. It's a sensitive job, and how embarrassing if the pyrates, or the restless natives on the coast, should get Allin's biscuits and leave him stranded.

On November 28, the duke of York's secretary Matthew Wren had forwarded to Sam a dispatch from Allin, with a cover letter nothing that "though dated from Tangiers, it is manifest that it was from Algiers, so it is 50 days old" (note to Allin: please date your letters, dealing with these huge distances is already complicated enough). "Considering how many more [days] it must be before any letter will reach Leghorn [Livorno, west coast of Italy]", Wren (or maybe Allin) "fears he will be past that place before orders about his victualling can come thither". So there's a bit of suspense, given that drawing and sending the letters of credit also take time. Wren suggests "to give Sir Thos. Allin the whole credit he desires at Cadiz", with the funds arranged there to be made good for purchases at Leghorn. Got all that?

Allin's situation is not helped, at this time, by the fairly furious and successful campaign being waged along the Barbary coast by a certain Taffaletta, sultan of Morocco (by his real name Al-Rashid ibn Sharif, as per…), about whom dispatches have of late taken more and more space in the Gazette. Thus in No. 315 we read that on September 29 Allin "arrived before Algier, where he has made a new peace with the people", but in the next paragraph also how "Taffaletta (...) ha[s] by his Conquests taken on him not only the Title of King, but Emperour of Barbary". In No. 311 we had seen a breathless dispatch from October 14 on how "Taffalette (...) having now taken (...) the fourth part [a quarter] of Barbary, made himself sole Emperour of Fesse [Fez] and Morocco, killed the King of Morocco (...) and reduced the whole Country to his obedience".

So Cadiz, just across the Straits, is a much healthier place where to send money or victuall the fleet, and since Taffaletta is starting to worry the Spaniards enough (the Gazette also tells us) for them to raise new troops, Allin should also be quite welcome there.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Sam is thus an important cog in the fast-complicating geopolitics of Barbary. Still, couldn't this have waited until the next regular meeting with the duke? Did he need to be rushed with the news just now, while unfolding his dinner napkin?

Sam, having whispered his Important Secret News to His Royal Highness in full view of the entire Court, has made his Intricate Bows, brushed the Persian carpets with his hat and left. The duke chuckles and leans toward the King: "Hey, gossip-master, didn't Pepys just act a bit showy just now? Any idea why?"

"Hmpf?" the King says, around a mouthful of pheasant. "Hmm, the man just got his own wheels", he adds, after a glance at the "Daily List of New Coaches" which Williamson just placed in front of him. "He's coach-drunk".

"Oooh, he's not going to think he's one of Us, is he?", the Queen asks. "Send him the taxman if so!"

"We do that when they also start to put diamonds on their wives, dearie", the King says, stuffing some pineapple in the Queen's mouth. "Don't worry".

arby  •  Link

Thanks, Stephane!

Timo  •  Link

Yes! Nailed it.

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