Broke

Up, and to the office, and mightily troubled all this morning with going to my Lord Mayor (Sir Thomas Bludworth, a silly man, I think), and other places, about getting shipped some men that they have these two last nights pressed in the City out of houses: the persons wholly unfit for sea, and many of them people of very good fashion, which is a shame to think of, and carried to Bridewell they are, yet without being impressed with money legally as they ought to be.
But to see how the King’s business is done; my Lord Mayor himself did scruple at this time of extremity to do this thing, because he had not money to pay the pressed-money to the men, he told me so himself; nor to take up boats to carry them down through bridge to the ships I had prepared to carry them down in; insomuch that I was forced to promise to be his paymaster, and he did send his City Remembrancer afterwards to the office, and at the table, in the face of the officers, I did there out of my owne purse disburse 15l. to pay for their pressing and diet last night and this morning; which is a thing worth record of my Lord Mayor.
Busy about this all the morning, at noon dined and then to the office again, and all the afternoon till twelve at night full of this business and others, and among these others about the getting off men pressed by our officers of the fleete into the service; even our owne men that are at the office, and the boats that carry us. So that it is now become impossible to have so much as a letter carried from place to place, or any message done for us: nay, out of Victualling ships full loaden to go down to the fleete, and out of the vessels of the officers of the Ordnance, they press men, so that for want of discipline in this respect I do fear all will be undone. Vexed with these things, but eased in mind by my ridding of a great deale of business from the office, I late home to supper and to bed. But before I was in bed, while I was undressing myself, our new ugly mayde, Luce, had like to have broke her necke in the darke, going down our upper stairs; but, which I was glad of, the poor girle did only bruise her head, but at first did lie on the ground groaning and drawing her breath, like one a-dying.
This month I end in much hurry of business, but in much more trouble in mind to thinke what will become of publique businesses, having so many enemys abroad, and neither force nor money at all, and but little courage for ourselves, it being really true that the spirits of our seamen and commanders too are really broke by the last defeate with the Dutch, and this is not my conjecture only, but the real and serious thoughts of Sir G. Carteret and Sir W. Coventry, whom I have at distinct times heard the same thing come from with a great deale of grief and trouble.
But, lastly, I am providing against a foule day to get as much money into my hands as I can, at least out of the publique hands, that so, if a turne, which I fear, do come, I may have a little to trust to. I pray God give me good successe in my choice how to dispose of what little I have, that I may not take it out of publique hands, and put it into worse.

nights without money
I carry a purse full
of impossible things

undressing myself in the dark
I lie like a Dutch oven
in the hands of rust


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 30 June 1666.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.