Thursday 25 March 1669

Up, and by and by, about eight o’clock, come Rear-Admiral Kempthorne and seven Captains more, by the Duke of York’s order, as we expected, to hold the Court-martiall about the loss of “The Defyance;” and so presently we by boat to “The Charles,” which lies over against Upnor Castle, and there we fell to the business; and there I did manage the business, the Duke of York having, by special order, directed them to take the assistance of Commissioner Middleton and me, forasmuch as there might be need of advice in what relates to the government of the ships in harbour. And so I did lay the law open to them, and rattle the Master Attendants out of their wits almost; and made the trial last till seven at night, not eating a bit all the day; only when we had done examination, and I given my thoughts that the neglect of the Gunner of the ship was as great as I thought any neglect could be, which might by the law deserve death, but Commissioner Middleton did declare that he was against giving the sentence of death, we withdrew, as not being of the Court, and so left them to do what they pleased; and, while they were debating it, the Boatswain of the ship did bring us out of the kettle a piece of hot salt beef, and some brown bread and brandy; and there we did make a little meal, but so good as I never would desire to eat better meat while I live, only I would have cleaner dishes. By and by they had done, and called us down from the quarterdeck; and there we find they do sentence that the Gunner of “The Defyance” should stand upon “The Charles” three hours with his fault writ upon his breast, and with a halter about his neck, and so be made incapable of any office. The truth is, the man do seem, and is, I believe, a good man; but his neglect, in trusting a girl to carry fire into his cabin, is not to be pardoned. This being done, we took boat and home; and there a good supper was ready for us, which should have been our dinner. The Captains, desirous to be at London, went away presently for Gravesend, to get thither by this night’s tide; and so we to supper, it having been a great snowy and mighty cold, foul day; and so after supper to bed.

18 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The Royal Society today at Arundel House — History of the RS, Thomas Birch,

March 25, 1669. The Society did not meet.

History of the Royal Society, Thomas Birch,, Vol. 2, p. 356.

Mary  •  Link

hot salt beef and brown bread.

Still a snack to be relished, with or without the brandy.... though not on dirty dishes.

ONeville  •  Link

Knowing Sam's background, I would have thought that he would have made a "Sandwich" of the beef. Dirty plates would not have mattered as much. A bit of pickle would not have gone amiss, but brandy, no.

Facing the death penalty for trusting a girl. There's a lesson for all men.

rob van hugte  •  Link

On reading the novels written on the era of the sailing ships the one great fear that keeps getting mentioned is fire. Not such a big surprise if you think of these ships as being made of entirely combustible stuff; oak, ropes, tallow, pitch and do not forget the gunpowder. Death penalty or slightly worse, 30 lashes would be the going rate for this sort of neglect. There is a scene in Hornblower where the culpritt is forced to run the gauntlet while being whipped by the entire crew.

Roger The Weather  •  Link

'it having been a great snowy and mighty cold, foul day;'

Samuel talked about 'temperate' weather earlier in the month when gadding about in his coach etc. This day we see the vagaries of English spring weather.
It was a chilly March overall in 1669 , the average of 5.0C being the 144th coldest March of 353 since 1659. Incidently, the current March looks like being in the top ten warmest.

Maurie Beck  •  Link

‘it having been a great snowy and mighty cold, foul day;’

This was in the middle of the Little Ice Age. 1650 AD was a climate minimum.

Claire  •  Link

"...only I would have cleaner dishes."

If we were somehow transported back to this time before the arrival of the germ theory, how we would be aghast at the neglect of basic hygiene!

Mary  •  Link

Fire on board ship

It's not just the fire itself, of course, that presents the danger, but also the use of water to douse a fire. You couldn't afford to pump too much of that on board and so could find yourself caught on the horns of a horrible dilemma.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Today is Lady Day, the year's first first "quarter day". "In British and Irish tradition, the quarter days were the four dates in each year on which servants were hired, and rents were due."…

How right (and predictable?!) a time for Jane and Tom to be gone and to marry!

Australian Susan  •  Link

Lady Day - and parish priests got their tithes on this day (and the other quarter days)

nix  •  Link

Do they still?

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Tithes were abolished in the Church of England in the middle of the 19th century, to be replaced by priests being paid a stipend by the Church Commissioners. I do not know offhand all the fine details of how this was organised. It certainly made things more equitable. To pay for this, parishes have to pay a quota. This is based the relative wealth of the parish, regardless of how many persons from the geographical parish actually attend the C of E church! In Australia, it has always been different : the Anglican Church here is not a State Church (as the C of E is). No Bishops sit in the Senate and no Acts of Parliament are required to change anything. Each parish (which has nothing to do with local government as English parishes do, but is simply a convenient area) has to raise its own funds for its own priest by the giving of those in the congregations. They also have to pay a sum of money to the Diocese for central spending. This is encouraged to be a tithe, but it is not mandatory. Tithing also comes into some other parishes' giving to missions. Our church does this - 10% of our income goes straight back out again to missionaries or other outreach activities (such as supporting poor parishes in the bush) I think the English model works well as there is something to be said for the payment of the Priest being at a slight remove - otherwise you can get unpleasant situations such as someone in a parish complaining that the Priest's wife was using the parish car and had she paid for the petrol for non parish business etc. (parishes have to pay cars too)." -- "Australian Susan" via Facebook messenger

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I did lay the law open to them, and rattle the Master Attendants out of their wits almost;"

Some of the court's questions (written in Gibson's hand) were: 'Qr have they at any time and how often mustered this shipp by night? Qr have they ever satisfy'd themselves that the Clerk of the Cheque did his Duty, And whither they have ever directed the Clerk of the Cheque? ...What their Practice has Lodging by turnes upon some of the Kings shipps at least every third night?': ib., no. 184. (L&M note)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Happy New Year, O.S.

Lady Day is for the settling of accounts ... but I suppose this trip delays that chore for Pepys.

Eric the Bish  •  Link

Public announcement of punishment was retained in the RN until around 2000 in the “Warrant Reading” - a sailor who had, for example, been found guilty of theft from his messmates (a heinous offence and one which is highly damaging to teamwork) would be brought, under arrest, in front of a parade of those same messmates and the warrant of punishment read. He was then marched immediately to the van which would take him to military detention at Colchester.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

This entry -- by its omission -- makes it clear Pepys just did not want to witness the wedding of Jane and Tom.
He enjoyed the wedding lunch as his supper instead.
Curious fellow, Pepys.

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