Guineas is in Coins.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 01 January 1668. 01 Jan 1668. Up, and all the morning in my chamber making up some accounts against this beginning of the new year, and so about noon abroad with my wife, who was to dine with W. Hewer (26) and Willet at Mrs. Pierce's, but I had no mind to be with them, for I do clearly find that my wife is troubled at my friendship with her and Knepp, and so dined with my Lord Crew (70), with whom was Mr. Browne, Clerk of the House of Lords, and Mr. John Crew (70). Here was mighty good discourse, as there is always: and among other things my Lord Crew (70) did turn to a place in the Life of Sir Philip Sidney, wrote by Sir Fulke Greville, which do foretell the present condition of this nation, in relation to the Dutch, to the very degree of a prophecy; and is so remarkable that I am resolved to buy one of them, it being, quite throughout, a good discourse. Here they did talk much of the present cheapness of corne, even to a miracle; so as their farmers can pay no rent, but do fling up their lands; and would pay in corne: but, which I did observe to my Lord, and he liked well of it, our gentry are grown so ignorant in every thing of good husbandry, that they know not how to bestow this corne: which, did they understand but a little trade, they would be able to joyne together, and know what markets there are abroad, and send it thither, and thereby ease their tenants and be able to pay themselves. They did talk much of the disgrace the Archbishop (69) is fallen under with the King (37), and the rest of the Bishops also.
Thence I after dinner to the Duke of York's playhouse, and there saw "Sir Martin Mar-all"; which I have seen so often, and yet am mightily pleased with it, and think it mighty witty, and the fullest of proper matter for mirth that ever was writ; and I do clearly see that they do improve in their acting of it. Here a mighty company of citizens, 'prentices, and others; and it makes me observe, that when I begun first to be able to bestow a play on myself, I do not remember that I saw so many by half of the ordinary 'prentices and mean people in the pit at 2s. 6d. a-piece as now; I going for several years no higher than the 12d. and then the 18d. places, though, I strained hard to go in then when I did: so much the vanity and prodigality of the age is to be observed in this particular.
Thence I to White Hall, and there walked up and down the house a while, and do hear nothing of anything done further in this business of the change of Privy-counsellors: only I hear that Sir G. Savile (34), one of the Parliament Committee of nine, for examining the Accounts, is by the King (37) made a Lord, the Lord Halifax; which, I believe, will displease the Parliament.
By and by I met with Mr. Brisband; and having it in my mind this Christmas to (do what I never can remember that I did) go to see the manner of the gaming at the Groome-Porter's, I having in my coming from the playhouse stepped into the two Temple-halls, and there saw the dirty 'prentices and idle people playing; wherein I was mistaken, in thinking to have seen gentlemen of quality playing there, as I think it was when I was a little child, that one of my father's servants, John Bassum, I think, carried me in his arms thither. I did tell Brisband of it, and he did lead me thither, where, after staying an hour, they begun to play at about eight at night, where to see how differently one man took his losing from another, one cursing and swearing, and another only muttering and grumbling to himself, a third without any apparent discontent at all: to see how the dice will run good luck in one hand, for half an hour together, and another have no good luck at all: to see how easily here, where they play nothing but Guinnys, a £100 is won or lost: to see two or three gentlemen come in there drunk, and putting their stock of gold together, one 22 pieces, the second 4, and the third 5 pieces; and these to play one with another, and forget how much each of them brought, but he that brought the 22 thinks that he brought no more than the rest: to see the different humours of gamesters to change their luck, when it is bad, how ceremonious they are as to call for new dice, to shift their places, to alter their manner of throwing, and that with great industry, as if there was anything in it: to see how some old gamesters, that have no money now to spend as formerly, do come and sit and look on, as among others, Sir Lewis Dives (69), who was here, and hath been a great gamester in his time: to hear their cursing and damning to no purpose, as one man being to throw a seven if he could, and, failing to do it after a great many throws, cried he would be damned if ever he flung seven more while he lived, his despair of throwing it being so great, while others did it as their luck served almost every throw: to see how persons of the best quality do here sit down, and play with people of any, though meaner; and to see how people in ordinary clothes shall come hither, and play away 100, or 2 or 300 Guinnys, without any kind of difficulty: and lastly, to see the formality of the groome-porter, who is their judge of all disputes in play and all quarrels that may arise therein, and how his under-officers are there to observe true play at each table, and to give new dice, is a consideration I never could have thought had been in the world, had I not now seen it. And mighty glad I am that I did see it, and it may be will find another evening, before Christmas be over, to see it again, when I may stay later, for their heat of play begins not till about eleven or twelve o'clock; which did give me another pretty observation of a man, that did win mighty fast when I was there. I think he won £100 at single pieces in a little time. While all the rest envied him his good fortune, he cursed it, saying, "A pox on it, that it should come so early upon me, for this fortune two hours hence would be worth something to me, but then, God damn me, I shall have no such luck". This kind of prophane, mad entertainment they give themselves. And so I, having enough for once, refusing to venture, though Brisband pressed me hard, and tempted me with saying that no man was ever known to lose the first time, the devil being too cunning to discourage a gamester; and he offered me also to lend me ten pieces to venture; but I did refuse, and so went away, and took coach and home about 9 or to at night, where not finding my wife come home, I took the same coach again, and leaving my watch behind me for fear of robbing, I did go back and to Mrs. Pierce's, thinking they might not have broken up yet, but there I find my wife newly gone, and not going out of my coach spoke only to Mr. Pierce in his nightgown in the street, and so away back again home, and there to supper with my wife and to talk about their dancing and doings at Mrs. Pierce's to-day, and so to bed.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 14 February 1668. 14 Feb 1668. Valentine's Day. Up, being called up by Mercer, who come to be my Valentine, and so I rose and my wife, and were merry a little, I staying to talk, and did give her a Guinny in gold for her Valentine's gift. There comes also my cozen Roger Pepys (50) betimes, and comes to my wife, for her to be his Valentine, whose Valentine I was also, by agreement to be so to her every year; and this year I find it is likely to cost £4 or £5 in a ring for her, which she desires. Cozen Roger (50) did come also to speak with Sir W. Pen (46), who was quoted, it seems, yesterday by Sir Fr. Hollis (25) to have said that if my Lord Sandwich (42) had done so and so, we might have taken all the Dutch prizes at the time when he staid and let them go. But Sir W. Pen (46) did tell us he should say nothing in it but what would do my Lord honour, and he is a knave I am able to prove if he do otherwise. He gone, I to my Office, to perfect my Narrative about prize-goods; and did carry it to the Commissioners of Accounts, who did receive it with great kindness, and express great value of, and respect to me: and my heart is at rest that it is lodged there, in so full truth and plainness, though it may hereafter prove some loss to me. But here I do see they are entered into many enquiries about prizes, by the great attendance of commanders and others before them, which is a work I am not sorry for.
Thence I away, with my head busy, but my heart at pretty good ease, to the Old Exchange, and there met Mr. Houblon. I prayed him to discourse with some of the merchants that are of the Committee for Accounts, to see how they do resent my paper, and in general my particular in the relation to the business of the Navy, which he hath promised to do carefully for me and tell me. Here it was a mighty pretty sight to see old Mr. Houblon, whom I never saw before, and all his sons about him, all good merchants.
Thence home to dinner, and had much discourse with W. Hewer (26) about my going to visit Colonel Thomson, one of the Committee of Accounts, who, among the rest, is mighty kind to me, and is likely to mind our business more than any; and I would be glad to have a good understanding with him.
Thence after dinner to White Hall, to attend the Duke of York (34), where I did let him know, too, the troublesome life we lead, and particularly myself, by being obliged to such attendances every day as I am, on one Committee or another. And I do find the Duke of York (34) himself troubled, and willing not to be troubled with occasions of having his name used among the Parliament, though he himself do declare that he did give directions to Lord Brouncker (48) to discharge the men at Chatham by ticket, and will own it, if the House call for it, but not else.
Thence I attended the King (37) and Council, and some of the rest of us, in a business to be heard about the value of a ship of one Dorrington's:—and it was pretty to observe how Sir W. Pen (46) making use of this argument against the validity of an oath, against the King (37), being made by the master's mate of the ship, who was but a fellow of about 23 years of age—the master of the ship, against whom we pleaded, did say that he did think himself at that age capable of being master's mate of any ship; and do know that he, himself, Sir W. Pen (46), was so himself, and in no better degree at that age himself: which word did strike Sir W. Pen (46) dumb, and made him open his mouth no more; and I saw the King (37) and Duke of York (34) wink at one another at it. This done, we into the gallery; and there I walked with several people, and among others my Lord Brouncker (48), who I do find under much trouble still about the business of the tickets, his very case being brought in; as is said, this day in the Report of the Miscarriages. And he seems to lay much of it on me, which I did clear and satisfy him in; and would be glad with all my heart to serve him in, and have done it more than he hath done for himself, he not deserving the least blame, but commendations, for this. I met with my cozen Roger Pepys (50) and Creed; and from them understand that the Report was read to-day of the Miscarriages, wherein my Lord Sandwich (42) is [named] about the business I mentioned this morning; but I will be at rest, for it can do him no hurt. Our business of tickets is soundly up, and many others: so they went over them again, and spent all the morning on the first, which is the dividing of the fleete; wherein hot work was, and that among great men, Privy-Councillors, and, they say, Sir W. Coventry (40); but I do not much fear it, but do hope that it will shew a little, of the Duke of Albemarle (59) and the Prince to have been advisers in it: but whereas they ordered that the King's Speech should be considered today, they took no notice of it at all, but are really come to despise the King (37) in all possible ways of chewing it. And it was the other day a strange saying, as I am told by my cozen Roger Pepys (50), in the House, when it was moved that the King's speech should be considered, that though the first part of the Speech, meaning the league that is there talked of, be the only good publick thing that hath been done since the King (37) come into England, yet it might bear with being put off to consider, till Friday next, which was this day. Secretary Morrice (65) did this day in the House, when they talked of intelligence, say that he was allowed but £70 a-year for intelligence, [Secret service money] whereas, in Cromwell's time, he [Cromwell] did allow £70,000 a-year for it; and was confirmed therein by Colonel Birch (52), who said that thereby Cromwell carried the secrets of all the Princes of Europe at his girdle. The House is in a most broken condition; nobody adhering to any thing, but reviling and finding fault: and now quite mad at the Undertakers, as they are commonly called, Littleton (47), Lord Vaughan (28), Sir R. Howard (42), and others that are brought over to the Court, and did undertake to get the King (37) money; but they despise, and would not hear them in the House; and the Court do do as much, seeing that they cannot be useful to them, as was expected. In short, it is plain that the King (37) will never be able to do any thing with this Parliament; and that the only likely way to do better, for it cannot do worse, is to break this and call another Parliament; and some do think that it is intended. I was told to-night that my Baroness Castlemayne (27) is so great a gamester as to have won £5000 in one night, and lost £25,000 in another night, at play, and hath played £1000 and £1500 at a cast.
Thence to the Temple, where at Porter's chamber I met Captain Cocke (51), but lost our labour, our Counsellor not being within, Pemberton (43), and therefore home and late at my office, and so home to supper and to bed.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 17 September 1668. 17 Sep 1668. Up, and all the morning sitting at the office, where every body grown mighty cautious in what they do, or omit to do, and at noon comes Knepp, with design to dine with Lord Brouncker (48), but she being undressed, and there being: much company, dined with me; and after dinner I out with her, and carried her to the playhouse; and in the way did give her five guineas as a fairing, I having given her nothing a great while, and her coming hither sometimes having been matter of cost to her, and so I to St. James's, but missed of the Duke of York (34), and so went back to the King's playhouse, and saw "Rollo, Duke of Normandy", which, for old acquaintance, pleased me pretty well, and so home and to my business,. and to read again, and to bed. This evening Batelier comes to tell me that he was going down to Cambridge to my company, to see the Fair, which vexed me, and the more because I fear he do know that Knepp did dine with me to-day1.
Note 1. And that he might tell Mrs. Pepys. B.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 21 September 1668. 21 Sep 1668. Up, and betimes Sir D. Gauden with me talking about the Victualling business, which is now under dispute for a new contract, or whether it shall be put into a Commission. He gone, comes Mr. Hill (38) to talk with me about Lanyon's business, and so being in haste I took him to the water with me, and so to White Hall, and there left him, and I to Sir W. Coventry (40), and shewed him my answer to the Duke of York's (34) great letter, which he likes well. We also discoursed about the Victualling business, which he thinks there is a design to put into a way of Commission, but do look upon all things to be managed with faction, and is grieved under it.
So to St. James's, and there the Duke of York (34) did of his own accord come to me, and tell me that he had read, and do like of, my answers to the objections which he did give me the other day, about the Navy; and so did W. Coventry (40) too, who told me that the Duke of York (34) had shown him them: So to White Hall a little and the Chequer, and then by water home to dinner with my people, where Tong was also this day with me, whom I shall employ for a time, and so out again and by water to Somerset House, but when come thither I turned back and to Southwarke-Fair, very dirty, and there saw the puppet-show of Whittington, which was pretty to see; and how that idle thing do work upon people that see it, and even myself too! And thence to Jacob Hall's dancing on the ropes, where I saw such action as I never saw before, and mightily worth seeing; and here took acquaintance with a fellow that carried me to a tavern, whither come the musick of this booth, and by and by Jacob Hall himself, with whom I had a mind to speak, to hear whether he had ever any mischief by falls in his time. He told me, "Yes, many; but never to the breaking of a limb:" he seems a mighty strong man. So giving them a bottle or two of wine, I away with Payne, the waterman. He, seeing me at the play, did get a link to light me, and so light me to the Beare, where Bland, my waterman, waited for me with gold and other things he kept for me, to the value of £40 and more, which I had about me, for fear of my pockets being cut. So by link-light through the bridge, it being mighty dark, but still weather, and so home, where I find my draught of "The Resolution" come, finished, from Chatham; but will cost me, one way or other, about £12 or £13, in the board, frame, and garnishing, which is a little too much, but I will not be beholden to the King's officers that do it.
So to supper, and the boy to read to me, and so to bed. This day I met Mr. Moore in the New Exchange, and had much talk of my Lord's concernments. This day also come out first the new five-pieces in gold, coined by the Guiny Company; and I did get two pieces of Mr. Holder1. 22nd. Up, and to the Office, where sitting all the morning at noon, home to dinner, with my people, and so to the Office again, where busy all the afternoon, and in the evening spent my time walking in the dark, in the garden, to favour my eyes, which I find nothing but ease to help. In the garden there comes to me my Lady Pen (44) and Mrs. Turner (45) and Markham, and we sat and talked together, and I carried them home, and there eat a bit of something, and by and by comes Sir W. Pen (47), and eat with us, and mighty merry-in appearance, at least, he being on all occasions glad to be at friendship with me, though we hate one another, and know it on both sides. They gone, Mrs. Turner (45) and I to walk in the garden.... So led her home, and I back to bed. This day Mr. Wren (39) did give me, at the Board, Commissioner Middleton's answer to the Duke of York's (34) great letter; so that now I have all of them.
Note 1. Guineas took their name from the gold brought from Guinea by the African Company in 1663, who, as an encouragement to bring over gold to be coined, were permitted by their charter from Charles II to have their stamp of an elephant upon the coin. When first coined they were valued at 20s., but were worth 30s. in 1695. There were likewise fivepound pieces, like the guinea, with the inscription upon the rim.