Up before 4 o’clock, and so to my lute an hour or more, and then by water, drinking my morning draft alone at an alehouse in Thames Street, to the Temple, and thence after a little discourse with my cozen Roger about some business, away by water to St. James’s, and there an hour’s private discourse with Mr. Coventry, where he told me one thing to my great joy, that in the business of Captain Cocke’s hemp, disputed before him the other day, Mr. Coventry absent, the Duke did himself tell him since, that Mr. Pepys and he did stand up and carry it against the rest that were there, Sir G. Carteret and Sir W. Batten, which do please me much to see that the Duke do take notice of me. We did talk highly of Sir W. Batten’s corruption, which Mr. Coventry did very kindly say that it might be only his heaviness and unaptness for business, that he do things without advice and rashly, and to gratify people that do eat and drink and play with him, and that now and then he observes that he signs bills only in anger and fury to be rid of men. Speaking of Sir G. Carteret, of whom I perceive he speaks but slightly, and diminishing of him in his services for the King in Jersey; that he was well rewarded, and had good lands and rents, and other profits from the King, all the time he was there; and that it was always his humour to have things done his way. He brought an example how he would not let the Castle there be victualled for more than a month, that so he might keep it at his beck, though the people of the town did offer to supply it more often themselves, which, when one did propose to the King, Sir George Carteret being by, says Sir George, “Let me know who they are that would do it, I would with all my heart pay them.” “Ah, by God,” says the Commander that spoke of it, “that is it that they are afeard of, that you would hug them,” meaning that he would not endure them. Another thing he told me, how the Duke of York did give Sir G. Carteret and the Island his profits as Admirall, and other things, toward the building of a pier there. But it was never laid out, nor like to be. So it falling out that a lady being brought to bed, the Duke was to be desired to be one of the godfathers; and it being objected that that would not be proper, there being no peer of the land to be joyned with him, the lady replied, “Why, let him choose; and if he will not be a godfather without a peer, then let him even stay till he hath made a pier of his own.”1 He tells me, too, that he hath lately been observed to tack about at Court, and to endeavour to strike in with the persons that are against the Chancellor; but this he says of him, that he do not say nor do anything to the prejudice of the Chancellor. But he told me that the Chancellor was rising again, and that of late Sir G. Carteret’s business and employment hath not been so full as it used to be while the Chancellor stood up. From that we discoursed of the evil of putting out men of experience in business as the Chancellor, and from that to speak of the condition of the King’s party at present, who, as the Papists, though otherwise fine persons, yet being by law kept for these fourscore years out of employment, they are now wholly uncapable of business; and so the Cavaliers for twenty years, who, says he, for the most part have either given themselves over to look after country and family business, and those the best of them, and the rest to debauchery, &c.; and that was it that hath made him high against the late Bill brought into the House for the making all men incapable of employment that had served against the King. Why, says he, in the sea-service, it is impossible to do any thing without them, there being not more than three men of the whole King’s side that are fit to command almost; and these were Captain Allen, Smith, and Beech; and it may be Holmes, and Utber, and Batts might do something. I desired him to tell me if he thought that I did speak anything that I do against Sir W. Batten and Sir J. Minnes out of ill will or design. He told me quite the contrary, and that there was reason enough. After a good deal of good and fine discourse, I took leave, and so to my Lord Sandwich’s house, where I met my Lord, and there did discourse of our office businesses, and how the Duke do show me kindness, though I have endeavoured to displease more or less of my fellow officers, all but Mr. Coventry and Pett; but it matters not. Yes, says my Lord, Sir J. Minnes, who is great with the Chancellor; I told him the Chancellor I have thought was declining, and however that the esteem he has among them is nothing but for a jester or a ballad maker; at which my Lord laughs, and asks me whether I believe he ever could do that well. Thence with Mr. Creed up and down to an ordinary, and, the King’s Head being full, went to the other over against it, a pretty man that keeps it, and good and much meat, better than the other, but the company and room so small that he must break, and there wants the pleasure that the other house has in its company. Here however dined an old courtier that is now so, who did bring many examples and arguments to prove that seldom any man that brings any thing to Court gets any thing, but rather the contrary; for knowing that they have wherewith to live, will not enslave themselves to the attendance, and flattery, and fawning condition of a courtier, whereas another that brings nothing, and will be contented to cog, and lie, and flatter every man and woman that has any interest with the persons that are great in favour, and can cheat the King, as nothing is to be got without offending God and the King, there he for the most part, and he alone, saves any thing. Thence to St. James Park, and there walked two or three hours talking of the difference between Sir G. Carteret and Mr. Creed about his accounts, and how to obviate him, but I find Creed a deadly cunning fellow and one that never do any thing openly, but has intrigues in all he do or says. Thence by water home to see all well, and thence down to Greenwich, arid there walked into a pretty common garden and there played with him at nine pins for some drink, and to make the fellows drink that set up the pins, and so home again being very cold, and taking a very great cold, being to-day the first time in my tabby doublet this year. Home, and after a small supper Creed and I to bed. This day I observed the house, which I took to be the new tennis-court, newly built next my Lord’s lodgings, to be fallen down by the badness of the foundation or slight working, which my cozen Roger and his discontented party cry out upon, as an example how the King’s work is done, which I am sorry to see him and others so apt to think ill of things. It hath beaten down a good deal of my Lord’s lodgings, and had like to have killed Mrs. Sarah, she having but newly gone out of it.
- In the same spirit, long after this, some question arising as to the best material to be used in building Westminster Bridge, Lord Chesterfield remarked, that there were too many wooden piers (peers) at Westminster already. — B.