The providing of food supplies. In the diary this generally refers to supplies for the Navy.
As an idea of what they ate aboard ship, I found this information, albeit 60 years before Pepys:
Sir Hugh Platt (1552–1611), an author, alchemist, speculator and inventor whose career touched on the fields of alchemy, general scientific curiosity, cookery and sugar work, cosmetics, gardening and agriculture, food manufacture, victualling, supplies and marketing.
Platt was a Navy victualler. In 1596 he had an idea to solve the provisioning problems of the Navy: pasta. This was the fourth of 5 years of poor harvests; there were riots in Britain and famine across Europe. It was also a time when longer voyages made victualling ships more difficult. Sir Francis Drake’s last voyage to the West Indies in 1595–6 suffered severe hunger.
The traditional sea rations of beef, cheese, liquor and salt fish were not enough.
Platt had a great solution. He laid out the virtues of pasta – or “macaroni” as he called it – in a series of points.
1. First, it is durable, for I have kept the same both sweet and sound, by the space of 3 yeares …
2. It is exceedingly light …
3. It is speedily dressed, for in one half hour, it is sufficiently sodden …
4. It is fresh, and thereby very pleasing unto the Mariner in the midst of his salt Meat …
5. It is cheap …
6. It serveth both instead of bread and meat, whereby it performs a double service.
7. Not being spent it may be laid up in store for a second voyage.
8. It may be made as delicate as you please, by the addition of oyle, butter, sugar and such like.
9. There is sufficient matter to be had all the year long, for the composition thereof.
This pasta proposal gives a good idea of who Sir Hugh Platt was, and shows Elizabethan inventiveness. Platt launched himself on many schemes, and this pasta project was typical. There is the appeal to Platt’s own hands-on experience: the boast about having kept macaroni “sweet and sound” for three years; the indication that he is actually familiar with cooking the stuff, or at least with making it “sodden”. There is the mixture of good thinking – pasta is indeed durable, light and cheap. And there is nonsense: as a pure starch food, it can hardly take the place of both bread and meat. Finally, there is the coy turn to profit at the end. What Platt means when he says that there is “sufficient” pasta to be had all year long is that he can supply sufficient – at a price.
Platt was the owner of probably the first macaroni press in London – a kind of extrusion machine, an illustration of which appears in one of his books. Platt’s scheme to alleviate military hunger is really a call for customers for his pasta supply business. It worked: Sir Francis Drake took Platt’s pasta on at least one of his voyages.
For more about Sir Hugh Platt, see https://prospectbooks.co.uk/products-page/current …
Malcolm Thick: Sir Hugh Plat. The Search for Useful Knowledge in Early Modern London
They used what they had. A short story from
from Rupert, Prince Palatine -- by EVA SCOTT
Late Scholar of Somerville College, Oxford
WESTMINSTER -- ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE & Co.
NEW YORK -- G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS
The storm raged without abatement for three days, at the end of which "the Admiral"'s condition was hopeless. By continually firing her guns she contrived to keep the other ships near her, and by constant pumping the disaster had been deferred. But on the third morning, September 30, 1651, at 3 a.m., the ship sprang a plank, and although 120 pieces of raw beef were trodden down between the timbers, and planks nailed over them, it was without avail.
Yes, Rupert escaped in a row boat, but "the Admiral" went down with all hands -- and with all the treasure they had captured.
Spanish victualling for the Armada, 80 years before Pepys:
The Daily Rations of a Sailor on the Spanish Armada.
April 21, 1588. Instructions given by the Duke of Medina Sidonia to the Shipmasters on the Armada at Lisbon.
Rations :—Each man is to receive 1 1/2 lbs. of biscuit per day, or 2 lbs. of fresh bread on the days that biscuit is not served out.
The ration of wine is to consist of a third of an azumbre [azumbre = nearly half a gallon] of Sherry, or the same of Lamego, Monzon, Pajica, and Condado wine; but only a pint of Candia wine must be served as a ration, that wine being stronger than the others, and it will bear a double quantity of water. The wine to be first used is Condado and Lisbon wine, and then, successively, Lamego and Monzon; Sherry and Candia being consumed last, as those wines bear a sea voyage better. Any pipes of Condado or Lisbon wine that may become spoilt in consequence of being kept will not be credited to you, and you will have to pay for them at the price of Sherry.
On Sundays and Thursdays every man will receive 6 ounces of bacon and 2 ounces of rice.
On Mondays and Wednesdays 6 ounces of cheese and 3 ounces of beans or chick peas.
On Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays you will distribute per man 6 ounces of fish, tunny or cod, or, in default of these, 6 ounces of squid, or five sardines, with 3 ounces of beans or chick peas.
It must be borne in mind that two different sorts of rations must not be served out on the same day.
Oil must be served out on all fish days, one ounce and a half being the ration. Vinegar is to be distributed also on the same days, a quarter of a pint for each ration.
All rations to be served out strictly by the measures and weights which have been supplied to each ship.
Sufficient water must be given to each man for drinking and cooking purposes, but the ordinary water ration must not exceed three pints a day for all purposes, although a larger consumption has been provided for in consequence of the waste that usually takes place by leakage, &c.
If any excess in this respect takes place it may cause serious trouble.
You will carefully inspect the stores constantly, and anything that you see is becoming bad you will serve out at once, nothing else being distributed until that be finished; so that nothing shall be wasted.
If any stores be wasted by your negligence you shall pay for them.
Calendar of Letters and State Papers,… Simancas (1899). IV.269- 70.
Information shared with permission from the Edward de Vere, Shakespeare and Tudor Topics blog. Before our time, but still a fount of enlightening information.
Gilbert Wesley Purdy of the Edward de Vere, Shakespeare and Tudor Topics blog has now shared what the English rations were for the Armada:
March 13, 1588. Estimate by Burghley of the proportion of victuals for Her Majesty's Navy, with the alternation of flesh and fish days, and a device for bacon for one day in the week.
The charges of one man's victual at the seas for one flesh day:—Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
Biscuit 1 lb. per man.
Flesh, 2 Ibs. salt beef per diem, so as every man hath 1 Ib. for a meal, and 4 men have 4 Ibs. for a meal.
Beer - 1 gallon.
Fish days:—Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.
Biscuit 1 lb. per man.
Fish One-quarter of a stockfish, or the 8th part of a ling.
Cheese – 1/4 lb.
Butter 2 ozs.
Beer - 1 gallon.
Bacon - 1 lb. per man per diem.
Pease 1 pint per man for a meal.
1 pottle of pease for 4 men.
4,000 cask will serve for 10,000 men for beer and beef for 3 months.
Shipboard rations were measured out to dining groups of four men who then divided them among themselves. Such groups were each called a “mess” (thus the modern military “mess hall”).
During the Armada most of the English ships expanded each mess to six men thus reducing the ration to each man. It was called “going 6 for 4”, and was used when it was not clear when a ship might be able to replenish its victuals.
This article assures us the beef didn't taste too bad after 2 months in a brine barrel ... and why:
The victualling chain of command:
The Admiral of the fleet/Master of the ship writes the Navy Board requesting food.
The Navy Board passes the information to Sir Dennis Gauden, as the franchise holder.
Dennis Gauden tells his agents in different ports how to fill the order.
I found these examples which make it easy to track:
Feb. 8. 1668
Sir Thos. Allin to the Navy Commissioners.
They are still detained by contrary winds,
and have expended 22 days' provision;
asks whether they should not have a month's provision sent, the wind being likely to stand.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 234, No. 107.]
Feb. 10. 1668
Sir Denis Gauden to Sam. Pepys.
I shall direct my agent at Dover to supply Sir Thos. Allin's fleet with one month's provisions, and doubt not but he will be able to do so,
except as to butter, cheese, and fish, in lieu of which I have directed the delivery of beef, pork, and peas.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 234, No. 128.]
All done in two days. Well, the Downs are off the east Kent coast, so it's not that far from London, but this still speaks to a level of efficiency.
'Charles II: February 1668', in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles II, 1667-8, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1893), pp. 204-261.
British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers…
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.