Wednesday 12 March 1661/62

At the office from morning till night putting of papers in order, that so I may have my office in an orderly condition. I took much pains in sorting and folding of papers. Dined at home, and there came Mrs. Goldsborough about her old business, but I did give her a short answer and sent away. This morning we had news from Mr. Coventry, that Sir G. Downing (like a perfidious rogue, though the action is good and of service to the King,1 yet he cannot with any good conscience do it) hath taken Okey, Corbet, and Barkestead at Delfe, in Holland, and sent them home in the Blackmore. Sir W. Pen, talking to me this afternoon of what a strange thing it is for Downing to do this, he told me of a speech he made to the Lords States of Holland, telling them to their faces that he observed that he was not received with the respect and observance now, that he was when he came from the traitor and rebell Cromwell: by whom, I am sure, he hath got all he hath in the world,—and they know it too.2

  1. (“And hail the treason though we hate the traitor.”) On the 21st Charles returned his formal thanks to the States for their assistance in the matter.—B.
  2. Charles, when residing at Brussels, went to the Hague at night to pay a secret visit to his sister, the Princess of Orange. After his arrival, “an old reverend-like man, with a long grey beard and ordinary grey clothes,” entered the inn and begged for a private interview. He then fell on his knees, and pulling off his disguise, discovered himself to be Mr. Downing, then ambassador from Cromwell to the States-General. He informed Charles that the Dutch had guaranteed to the English Commonwealth to deliver him into their hands should he ever set foot in their territory. This warning probably saved Charles’s liberty.—M. B.

20 Annotations

JWB   Link to this

'" A George Downing " became a proverbial expression in New England to denote a false man who betrayed his trust"'

Paul Chapin   Link to this

That guy Downing
was a piece of work, wasn't he? I've just reread the annotations on him, and I'm amazed that somebody with his well-known history of double crosses could rise and stay as high in public and official favor as he seems to have done. His timing must have been uncanny. We think of today's politicians as unprincipled careerists, but I'm hard pressed to think of a one that equals Downing in that respect.

vicenzo   Link to this

Resolved, That this House doth agree with the Council of State, that Mr. Downing have Credentials from the Parliament, unto the States-General, and the Provinces of Holland, as to the Ratification of that Treaty, and the Business of the Sound

From: British History Online
Source: House of Commons Journal Volume 7: 30 June 1659. Journal of the House of Commons: volume 7, (1802).
Date: 13/03/2005

vicenzo   Link to this

N.B. Sam did not mind working for him initially, only later does he make side commnts?

Australian Susan   Link to this

Mrs Golsborough
We haven't heard from her since October, when Sam was hoping not to have to go to law with her. Now, it seems, he can afford to be very high-handed with her. Has the threat of law-dealing faded away? Anyone with the L&M edition throw any light as to what is going on here??

Pauline   Link to this

Mrs Goldsborough
Aussie Susan, L&M has no entry for her. Her demands and Sam's problem with her come up in Oct. 15, 17 & 18 entries of last year. Here's the link for the 15th:

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

re: Sam did not mind working for Downing initially

I dunno about that, Monsieur Vincente ... I remember having the distinct impression during the early days that Sam disliked his boss, and did indeed make comments about his duplicitous/grumpy/demanding nature. (I'm too pressed for time to find entries to back me up ... maybe someone can help out?)

JWB   Link to this

"...I am sure, he hath got all he hath in the world..."
And so could Sam. Without Downing sifting the faculties of Oxford & Cambridge and promoting promissing young puritans to the student bodies, Sam would most likely have been doing brother Tom's job.

Alan Bedford   Link to this

"Okey, Corbet, and Barkestead" had all signed the death warrant of Charles I, and had all fled to Holland on the restoration of Charles II. Obviously, they had not counted on the perfidy of their former ally, Downing.

Tony Eldridge   Link to this

George Downing:
Interesting to note that, as part of his reward for switching to the King, he was given a plot of land which became Downing Street - the home of some slippery characters even to the present day!

vicenzo   Link to this

"dunno about that, Monsieur Vincente "
On Downing: reading for Jan '60 with hindsight, it be nice: at the time before Sam had all the answers:
"...So I went down and sent a porter to my house for my best fur cap, but he coming too late with it I did not present it to him..." Was it then just to be on the safe side. ? Id est P.C..
then the misses[mrs] was upset :
"...seemed angry that I had not been at the office that day, and she told me she was afraid that Mr. Downing may have a mind to pick some hole in my coat. So I made haste to him, but found no such thing from him..." ..."

Clement   Link to this

From Lawrence's annotation for 15 Oct, '61:

"Mrs Goldsborough" Per L&M "She owed £10 to the estate of Robert Pepys, and presumably did not want her address to be known for fear of arrest. There was also some dispute about the mortgage on her estate

john lauer   Link to this

Mrs. Goldsborough must look like Schrödinger’s cat to L&M.

Peter   Link to this

Some while back I was musing on the wide range of topics that come up in relation to the diary. It struck me that there seemed to be no limit as to what could come up and that undoubtedly at some point on this great journey, by some strange means,quantum mechanics would be raised. John Lauer, you did it!

Australian Susan   Link to this

So are we now pondering the meaning of existence and reality?
Does Mrs G exist outside of Sam entries for last October and now this one?

language hat   Link to this

"I'm amazed that somebody with his well-known history of double crosses could rise”

Alcibiades comes to mind:

vicenzo   Link to this

Sorry LH, I am not amazed,'Tis this type that fools all of us, History is full of them, MOLES they be. Smile , it is the secret weapon of many, always reinforce the the opinion of the Leader. Read Descartes his first 3 rules of logic, it goes "...never accept anything for true which I did not clearly know to be such..."

"Stiltus est qui stratum , non equum inspicit; stultissimus qui hominem aut veste aut condicione aestimat"
seneca the younger XVII 23,25
Stupid is he who inspects the saddle and not the horse, more stupid who judges the man by his Tea shirt or Tie or his car. [not exact,liberties be taken]
[google will give true answer]

language hat   Link to this

"Sorry LH, I am not amazed"

I was quoting Paul Chapin (just as I am quoting you in the headline here) -- I myself am no more amazed than you, having read my classics and the daily papers.

vicenzo   Link to this

so sorry! must put my specs on;

Terry Foreman   Link to this

For the speeches the regicides will make at their execution, 19 April, see

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