Monday 14 December 1668

Up, and by water to White Hall to a Committee of Tangier, where, among other things, a silly account of a falling out between Norwood, at Tangier, and Mr. Bland, the mayor, who is fled to Cales [Cadiz]. His complaint is ill-worded, and the other’s defence the most ridiculous that ever I saw; and so everybody else that was there, thought it; but never did I see so great an instance of the use of grammar, and knowledge how to tell a man’s tale as this day, Bland having spoiled his business by ill-telling it, who had work to have made himself notorious by his mastering Norwood, his enemy, if he had known how to have used it. Thence calling Smith, the Auditor’s clerk at the Temple, I by the Exchange home, and there looked over my Tangier accounts with him, and so to dinner, and then set him down again by a hackney, my coachman being this day about breaking of my horses to the coach, they having never yet drawn. Left my wife at Unthank’s, and I to the Treasury, where we waited on the Lords Commissioners about Sir D. Gawden’s matters, and so took her up again at night, and home to the office, and so home with W. Hewer, and to talk about our quarrel with Middleton, and so to supper and to bed.

This day I hear, and am glad, that the King hath prorogued the Parliament to October next; and, among other reasons, it will give me time to go to France, I hope.


18 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

" a falling out between Norwood, at Tangier, and Mr. Bland, the mayor"

L&M seem to agree with Pepys's view of this quarrel between the military and the civilian authorities that wound up in a dispute over the right to issue licenses [skim a take] for the sale of wine. Bland wrote a wordy letter of complaint to Norwood, the Deputy-Governor; the latter wrote a "sprightly" letter to Ormond, appealing for his support.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Sir D. Gawden’s matters"

L&M cite Treasury records showing on this date both Gauden's new contract and his "Lent accounts" were dealt with.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

"Never did I see"

I find one of the pleasures of the diary comes from Sam's vivid reaction to experiences, often preceded in the diary by "never did I..." I see these reactions not as naivete, but as an expression of the intensity of his impressions and as one of his great strengths not only as a writer but also as an administrator and innovator in the Navy Office.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Peccavi. Something to do with a sluggish server, I think.

Meanwhile, on reading "it will give me time to go to France,"
I could not help but bring to mind "--They order, said I, this matter better in France --"

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Darn. There I go again! At least version 2 has improved punctuation.

Stephen Walkley  •  Link

"...my coachman being this day about breaking of my horses to the coach, they having never yet drawn. "

Those were the days, when you had to run in a new vehicle.

john  •  Link

"breaking of my horses to the coach"

I wonder how old they were and of which sex.

Carl in Boston  •  Link

“Never did I see” .... That's a Pepys manner of thought. He often talks about something new as the finest in all the land, the rarest and bravest of them all. How lucky we are to be here, and read this, and see him do it again. With Pepys and his takes on wonderful things, you really have to be there to experience it, or be here reading about it.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

He fled to Cadiz?

"So happy to breathe the free air of Spain..." Bland beams to Spanish handlers.

"Do we drop him with the Inquistion or our own Court torturers?" one hisses to other.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Horses

So - Sam has paid a lot for horses which have never been trained as carriage horses! Sensibly he is leaving the coachman to train them. Horses usually hate having something rumbling along after them to begin with and try to run away from it. The coahman will probably get them used to first being on long reins - so he will harness them up and then walk behind them at some distance to get them trained in receiving commands from somewhere way behind them and in a pair. Then he will get them pulling a roller - a worked tree trunk which rolls smoothly. Only then will he risk harnessing them to Sam's precious coach.

The Coachman

We never learn his name, I think, because he is only ever employed as a coachman (just as it is usually "my boy"), whereas the female indoor servants tend to have less defined roles, so are differentiated by name, not job description. Similarly, Bess is always "my wife".

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"This day I hear, and am glad, that the King hath prorogued the Parliament to October next; and, among other reasons, it will give me time to go to France, I hope."

L&M say that what Pepys heard about parliament is mistaken: It now stood adjourned from 10 November 1668 until 1 March 1669. It was then prorogued until 19 October 1669: CJ, ix,97. For his journey to France see http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1669/03/01/#c4265…

Liz  •  Link

Prorogation was a word unknown to me until 2019. And here I’m coming across it again throughout the diary courtesy of Mr P.

Timo  •  Link

Me too Liz, but the verb prorrogar is still quite commonly used in Spanish.

Mary K  •  Link

Perhaps the seller of the coach had provided horses for the first couple of outings in the coach. You wouldn't want to trust your brand-new coach to two horses who were unused to the work.

Scube  •  Link

Thanks A. Susan for outlining the program for training. Very interesting. Wonder if the coachman had the capacity for that. Also wonder how long Pepys kept the same horses, carriage and "boy."

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

To continue Scube's observation, white men evidently considered wives and servants as property who performed services. And the services were more important than their names.

Which doesn't mean they didn't care about their property. To answer Scube's question about "boy" Tom Edwards, Pepys was still in touch with him in 1681 when Tom died, and Pepys gave Tom's widow, Jane Birch, an annuity in 1690.
https://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/7767/
https://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/149/

Since Pepys' involvement with the coachman is outside the Diary, we can only speculate. If he doubled as a body guard, they could have been close. If he spent his life with the horses, not so close.

How long do we hang onto our cars? The same considerations go for coaches, I think. At his income level, I bet Pepys was soon looking at the latest models. He has turned into a consumer since the plague and fire.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"This day I hear, and am glad, that the King hath prorogued the Parliament to October next; and, among other reasons, it will give me time to go to France, I hope."

Not only a consumer, but a traveling man.

Elizabeth must want to show him where she grew up ... and/or he's tired of listening to the Cavaliers' recollections of 'that time at Notre Dame', and feeling like a country bumpkin because he can't join in.

The British love/hate relationship with the French is so strange. Pepys must be reading with concern how Louis XIV is building a BIG navy of warships (especially as he can't afford to pay for any repairs to the ones he has, never mind build new ships), but he apparently feels quite safe going there on holiday.

But of course this is 130 years before Napoleon and the French Revolution, so the English feelings were probably more anti-Catholic than anti-French.
Louis XIV had been as generous as he could be during Charles', James' and Henrietta Maria's exile, considering how close he and Queen Regent Anne of Austria came to losing everything during the Fronde.

john  •  Link

Prorogation: Many parliaments in the Commonwealth can be and are prorogued (House of Commons in AU, CA, and UK, and the Lok Sabha in IN), usually not a controversial act.

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