Saturday 31st March 2007
The following letter of acknowledgement and inventory of the items in the tailor shop are from Helen Truesdell Heath’s “The Letters of Samuel Pepys and His Family Circle” (See at Amazon UK, US). In this inventory are the details of the items which Tom acknowledges have been ‘lent’ to him by his father for his accommodation. All information and quotations set forth herein come from Heath’s above referenced book.
Heath tells us that “Thomas, born 18 June 1634, took over the London tailor shop in 1661, on terms never made clear beyond the hint in the diary that he would miscarry for want of brains and care” (p. xx). She presents several letters (dated from April 1664 through July 1664) which include those from i) Sam to his Cozen Scott, ii) Dr. Thomas Pepys to John Sr., iii) Sam to Mr. Pearson and iv) John Sr. to Sam. These letters set forth arguments, conflicts and assorted issues about the value of Tom’s estate, payments made and/or due including the funeral services costs, the accuracy of the inventory, the actual ‘ownership” of the items in the inventory, etc. As in many estate closings tempers fly, accusations are made and these letters “record the conflicting assertions and recriminations of the persons involved. Perhaps most of the contenders were mistaken in what they thought they knew, although it seems possible that some were perjuring themselves. Samuel, in any event, was left to compose the quarrel and satisfy the law” (p. xx). Where Sam’s upcoming Diary entries will no doubt touch on these issues, the letters have not been included, but will revolve in part, around the inventory, which is dated back to 1661.
Heath also explains “That Thomas was not a financial success is no mark against his character. The inaccuracy of his book-keeping, even though regrettable, was not outstanding in an age when even the royal accounts were often confused, and when Samuel Pepys made a name for himself by an honesty and an accuracy in the public accounting that were held unprecedented” (p. xx).
Heath’s text is directly from the manuscript. This letter is from the Rawlinson Collection in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, located in the Admiralty volumes of the Pepysian Library at Magdalene College, Cambridge. Heath notes that this inventory was in the hand of Thomas Pepys and that the acknowledgement (later document in this text) was in the hand of Sam, with the signature of Thomas. It is endorsed in Sam’s hand with a note that reads “TP’s bond to redd on demand”.
The formatting of the inventory does not exactly reflect the original as it appeared in Ms. Heath’s collection. The inventory content is from the original and, as is the acknowledgement letter and is presented in full. Throughout the document it appears that when Thomas writes ‘on’, ‘i’ or “I” he means “one”. Heath’s notes/translations have been incorporated into the text within brackets [ ]. The reader will clearly see that since Thomas is lacking Sam’s formal education that his punctuation is haphazard at best.
An Inve[n]tarye of all the goods that is Left.
2 flock bedds, 4 boulsters, on pair of blankets, on rug, 2 Liste coverlids, on sea chest, on trunk.
Cutting Board upper chamber & mayds beed
on cutting board, 2 nest of Drawers, shelfs, on Looking glass. a bi [word unknown as paper torn] on Joynt Stoole. 2 boxses & other Lumber. 2 Bedsteds with curtaines & vallence on stripte the other Darnix [a fabric for hangings]. On grate chest. a press. on trundle bedd. on bedd. 2 feether Beds on flock bed on bolster on quilt 2 piIIows a pair of blankets 2 coverlids on Looking glass, other on coverlid 2 blankets & 2 pillows, on close stoole & 2 muskets. mayds bed. 2 flock bolsters on flock beed on Blanket on coverlid. a grate green rugg.
A larg standing Bedsteed, purple curtaines & vallence a counter pain of the same, 7 back stooles on elbow cheir kivered with the same on Feather bedd & bolster, on pillow, on pair of blankets. A pair of brass Andirons & Snuffers, a pair of Iron Doggs tongs & shovvel with brasses a pair of Bellows. A lowe wainskote table with a drawer a rownd folding table, on rose carpet & 2 stripte carpets a cheest of Drawers a Lookinglass a Trundle bedd the room hung with Stript hanging, with maps. On Feather bedd bolster & coverled a pair of virginals & a Frame In the closset to this chamber 4 Stooles on hye rose work & 3 loe with glassen & Earthen Potts & a bruch
on Larg hye bedsted redd serg curtaines & vallence & cups with silk fringe, the room hung with stripe hangings & curtins of the sam A large ovell Table 2 Joynt stooles a turne up table & a corte cubberd [moveable cabinet used to display plate], A larg Turkey carpett, 6 cheirs & an elboe cheir of the same the bedd is off. kivvered all with redd covers a Loe Joint-stole. a pair of brass Andirons a pair of Doggs with brass knobs a pair of bellows with a Lookinglas & a larg mapp on feather beed on bolster on pillow 2 blankets on rugg. a pair of tongs & fier shovell with brasses a pair of brass snuffers
Studdy to this chamber
A round folding table a large elboe chair a loe Joynt Stoole a lookin- glas window curtins &shelfs
6 Leather chairs on Joint Stoole a foulding table a rose work carpet 2 cuchings of the same 2 branches on Lookinglass a cronacle & the histery of England Scotland & Ierland a pair of snuffers
Kiching & yard
6 grate diches 3 pye plates on bed pan on close stoole pan 6 small diches 9 porringers a brass pessle & morter on brass candlestick 4 pewter candlesticks 2 pewter saltsellers on trencher salte 7 sallet dishes & on dussen of plates. on thrundle [trundle] pott on wine thurnill pint [shallow oval tub] on pint on half pint pott all pewter 2 rosters of tin & a brass branch on table 2 chairs & on Stoole i pair of Large grates a long Iron before i fier shovvell i pair of tongs i fire fork 2 slises 2 sliding racks on plane on 2 racks for the Spit i pair of bellows i Jack & wayts 2 drippin pans on pudding pann 3 spits 2 Smothing Irons i bason i spice box The yard 6 disshes 4 sausers i cullender on copper on brasskillet 2 copper skillets on bras pott on kittle 2 scummers on basting Ladle i Leaden seston [cistern] i salt box 4 chamber potts pewter a choppin knife
In The Seller
on stand Woching Tubs a cole hole a boarded seller with Lock & key & other nessessaryes as 3 powdring tubs
There is a Silver Tankard & spoone
August. 25. 1661
I hereby acknowledge the Goods in the above-written inventory to belong to my father Mr. John Pepys, and by him at my request lent to mee for my present accomodation. Which sayd goods I doe hereby promise and engage to preserve with all care, and to see the same returned safe to my sayd father or his executors or assignes upon his or theyr demand. Wittnesse my hand this 25. of August. 1661.
Heath notes that the following section was noted on the back of the sheet and had evidently been dictated to Sam by his father.
A note of the linning that I left at London
4 paire of fine sheets & 7 paire of ordinary sheets 2 dozen of strong [course] diaper napkins, a table cloth, & cupbo [ard] cloth, I dozen of ordinary napkins. 4 towels diaper, 2 paire of pillowbeares [pillowcases].