Friday 9 April 1669

Up, and by water to White Hall, and there, with the Board, attended the Duke of York, and Sir Thomas Allen with us (who come to town yesterday); and it is resolved another fleete shall go to the Streights forthwith, and he command it. But his coming home is mighty hardly talked on by the merchants, for leaving their ships there to the mercy of the Turks: but of this more in my White-Booke. Thence out, and slipped out by water to Westminster Hall and there thought to have spoke with Mrs. Martin, but she was not there, nor at home. So back again, and with W. Hewer by coach home and to dinner, and then to the office, and out again with W. Hewer to the Excise-Office, and to several places; among others, to Mr. Faythorne’s, to have seen an instrument which he was said to have, for drawing perspectives, but he had it not: but here I did see his work-house, and the best things of his doing he had by him, and so to other places among others to Westminster Hall, and I took occasion to make a step to Mrs. Martin’s, the first time I have been with her since her husband went last to sea, which is I think a year since … [but yo did now hazer con ella what I would, though she had ellos upon her; but yo did algo. L&M] But, Lord! to hear how sillily she tells the story of her sister Doll’s being a widow and lately brought to bed; and her husband, one Rowland Powell, drowned, sea with her husband, but by chance dead at sea, cast When God knows she hath played the whore, and forced at this time after she was brought to bed, this story.

Thence calling at several places by the home, and there to the office, and then home to supper and to bed.

18 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

L&M disclose what the ellipsis omits

"which is I think a year since ; but yo did now hazer con ella what I would, though she had ellos upon her, but yo did algo."

Terry Foreman  •  Link

L&M provide other missing words in Wheatley's text

""and her husband, one Rowland Powell, drowned, that was at sea with her husband, but by chance dead at sea, cast away -- when, God knows, she hath played the whore, and is sillily forced at this time, after she was brought to bed, to forge this story."

Australian Susan  •  Link

The last section of this entry about Doll's unhappily timed baby does not seem to make sense, though one can guess what this was about. Has there been a mistranscription?

Australian Susan  •  Link

Thanks, TF! You answered my question as I was posting it!

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Aussie Sue, read what I posted that rectifies that.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

So is Rowland Powell, so conviently lost at sea, totally mythical? Or...

At sea...Stormy seas and tides...Tall ship, no star to steer her by...

"Martin..." gasp. "I'm going...Fast..."

"Nay, Powell...Brother...The boys will haul us in soon. Hold fast to the line. Be of good cheer, brother."

"No, Martin...But, you've been home...Tell me true, afore I meet our Maker. Was my dear Doll...Even faithful and constant?"



"Ever as faithful as my own dear Betty, her sister."


Or perhaps...

"Just a few more meetin's with the likes of your Mr. Pepys and me Rowland will never again have to travel to sea to earn our bread, Betty. Tis all for him that I bear this shame."

"Oh, come on, Doll...I don't be knowin' about the others, but Mr. P is a lamb. And so witty with his tales..."


"Well, would surely be the worse if I didn't even like the fellow, wouldn't it? But surely you won't...Continue...In your present state?"

"I must...For my Rowland...And..."

"Just don't think about it too hard, girl...It could have just possibly..."

"...Our child."

Lets just hope it's not as blond as that baker's apprentice from Puddin' Lane...Betty thinks, sighing.

"Betty!" Martin's voice. Slam of door, clump of seabag dropped...

"My own dear...Hello, Martin. Back are ye at last?" Betty rising to hug.



"Preggers, Martin. So where's the happy ummn...father?"



Jenny  •  Link

Enough time has passed now, has it Sam? Elizabeth is off the scent at last and you are free again. What happened to all the vows of never being wayward again? Good story from Doll about the missing "husband". What a couple of conniving women!

Roy  •  Link

Her sister receives a payment too.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

"but of this more in my White-Booke"

Two sets of books, eh? Does L&M elucidate?

JWB  •  Link

White book for a Black day...
"Up, and to my office, where busy all the morning, particularly setting my people to work in transcribing pieces of letters publique and private, which I do collect against a black day to defend the office with and myself..." Jun 17, '67.

No doubt pieces like this:
"This day Creed at White Hall in discourse told me what information he hath had, from very good hands, of the cowardice and ill-government of Sir Jer. Smith and Sir Thomas Allen, and the repute they have both of them abroad in the Streights, from their deportment when they did at several times command there; and that, above all Englishmen that ever were there, there never was any man that behaved himself like poor Charles Wager, whom the very Moores do mention, with teares sometimes." Mar. 27,'68

"Sir Thomas Allen well in it, who, I perceive, in serious matters, is a serious man: and tells me he wishes all we are told be true, in our defence; for he finds by all, that the Turks have, to this day, been very civil to our merchant-men everywhere; and, if they would have broke with us, they never had such an opportunity over our rich merchant-men, as lately, coming out of the Streights." 7 Aug, '68

Dorothy Willis  •  Link

So the minute his wife's watchful eye is off him, there he goes again. After all those tears and vows too! And he writes down both the tears and vows and the subsequent skirt-chasing in the same volume. You would think writing about the latter would remind him of the former and he would be ashamed of himself. Once again I'm amazed by the way he exposes himself in this diary.

Mary  •  Link

The Navy White Book.

L&M describe this as "a reformer's handbook of abuses ... of things that went wrong." The first entry in it is dated 6th October 1663 and the last in December 1672.

In a letter to Coventry dated 28 July 1667 Pepys refers to a book that notes,"observations I have (I hope usefully) made on points wherein want of order, industry and foresight in matters within the disposal of this Office has not (to tell truth) smally contributed to what his Majesty has suffered in the pursuit of this war - which project, though calculated chiefly for the service of the war, yet will it (I doubt not) administer considerations of use in peace."

See L&M Vol.5 p.116 note 1.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The Navy White Book (in the Pepysian Library)

Bound in white vellum and so entitled on the spine, note L&M on 7 April 1664 (found in Vol 5 where Mary directs us), in re Pepys's entry's reference: "(vide my office book, for about this time I have begun, my notions and informations encreasing now greatly every day, to enter all occurrences extraordinary in my office in a book by themselves)"…

jeannine  •  Link

The Navy White Book –the first reference to this is on 7 April 1664 when Sam began to record ‘occurrences extraordinary’. This was his personal book “of the Board’s debates and transactions and of how, in fact, each member of the Board had discharged his responsibilities. It was designed to be a means against criticism. It also came to be, in Pepys’ words, a record of ‘matters to be reformed or improved’. The book was a handsome folio bound in white vellum, with the royal arms stamped on both covers in a style identical to that of the larger and more important books of the Office. Its contents consist of memoranda in the hands of Pepys and his clerks dated between 1664 and 1672” ~~ The quote is from p xvii of “Samuel Pepys and the Second Dutch War” , by the Navy Records Society, which contains the Navy White Book & the Brooke House Papers.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Many thanks to all

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"But his coming home is mighty hardly talked on by the merchants, for leaving their ships there to the mercy of the Turks: but of this more in my White-Booke."

NWB, pp. 190-1. Several English ships had been plundered by the Algerines after Allin's departure. Thhe merchants complained that he and his captains had hurried home because they were more interested in transporting goods (trade of this sort being common at the time) than in commanding men-of-war. He sailed again for the Straits on 20 July 1669: Allin, ii.98. (L&M)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

An additional sentence inserted at the bottom of this entry by Pepys:

<< Going this afternoon through SmithfieldI did see a coach run over the coachman's neck and stanfd upon it, and yet the man rose up and was well after it, which I thought a wonder. >>

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

By some strange magic the State Papers open themselves today on a document of April 8, a "warrant, to pay to the earl of Sandwich, Master of the Great Wardrobe" - oh yes, he's that too - "4000 L., to furnish a present to be sent to the Emperor of Morocco, by Henry, Lord Howard, Ambassador Extraordinary to him".

Because while Thomas Allen has indeed sailed home, we're not forgetting Taffilet, the pirate-king of Barbary, whose wish to try diplomacy (especially acute since Allen threatened to burn down his fleet) and to receive a glamorous British ambassador, will presently be fulfilled. Of late there had been a lot of to- and fro on the budget for that indispensable gift, and yea, £4,000 should buy something not too shabby. In fact it must make Sandwich's head spin just to think about it, given his own perspective on ambassadorial budgets.

'Tis probably for the better if the merchants, whose ships have been England's gifts to Taffilet so far, don't know about this. But they shouldn't miss the greater picture. We find in Gazette No. 353 newes, from a ship now come to Yarmouth, that a French merchant was detained "by an Algiers man of War of 36 guns", and his captain most civilly entertained while its cargo was closely inspected. The Turks, whose patronage Taffilet seems to have accepted, "excusing the strictness of the search upon several abuses put upon them by such of their Enemies [e.g., currently, the French] as had pretended their ships and goods to have been English".

And so, between Allin's treaty of last September with Taffilet and Charles' care to stay out of Venice's fight for Candia with the Turks, 'tis a good thing in the Med to be English right now, and perhaps worth a carbuncle or two.

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