4 Annotations

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Thomas Yeabsley, Victualler, of Plymouth: with his partners [Timothy] Allsop and [John] Lanyon he supplied Tangier. James Yonge, the naval surgeon, also of Plymouth, refers to him in his journal as 'my intimate and ingenious friend'.
(L&M Companion and Index)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

According to L&M Yeabsly is based at Portsmouth (Hampshire) and Lanyon at Plymouth (Devon).

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I was confused as to what to make of Mr. Yeabsley. From 1664 - 1668 he and various friends were victualers to Tangier. Pepys does not give us enough information about the many shipments that must have been made to follow the details.

Next thing to remember is that Pepys did not have a high opinion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Anthony Ashley-Cooper, Lord Ashley. In my opinion, Pepys was right about that: Ashley started the Civil War as a wealthy young Royalist; after a year switched to Parliament because he didn't think King Charles would win; got himself onto the Commission which went to The Hague to invite Charles II, King of the Scots to return to England, and was given plum appointments ending up as the Earl of Shaftsbury in the CABAL administration and founder of the Whigs (anti-monarchists political party). A true opportunist if ever there was one.

In order to get paid, Yeabsley came to London a number of times to facilitate events. On his first visit he offered Pepys 300l. per annum to grease the wheels. A couple of days later Yeabsley mentions to Pepys that he's bribed Ashley for 100l., and sure enough Pepys sees Yeabsley is given more consideration by Ashley.

By 1667 Pepys notes that he hasn't been paid by Yeabsley in a while.

And by 1668 Pepys says Yeabsley has cheated the King and deserves whatever's coming, and never mentions him again.

Along the way there's mention of ships being lost, and billing discrepancies. It takes years to sort things out (second Dutch war, plague, fire, Commissioners out of town so no quorum to sign payment authorizations, Creed as Treasurer of the Tangier Committee is another knave, but Pepys doesn't always specify why). You had to be independently wealthy to do business with the Navy in those days.

So if you find yourself confused by the Yeabsley stories, you have company. Maybe he bribed Lord Ashley, and maybe he didn't. I do think he did something to gain Ashley's respect and attention. Ashley didn't need the money. So a favor? Blackmail? Who knows.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Let us not forget what Pepys said about Chancellor of the Exchequer Anthony Ashley-Cooper, the Lord Ashley MP:
“Lord Ashly will rob the Devil and the Alter, but he will get money if it be to be got.” – Diary, September 9, 1665

Fund raising is the function of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I have not seen any historical reports that the already wealthy Lord Ashley engaged in personal enrichment that way. Maybe Yeabsley brought flowers?

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.