Up betimes and to my office, and thence with Sir J. Minnes by coach to White Hall, where met us Sir W. Batten, and there staid by the Council Chamber till the Lords called us in, being appointed four days ago to attend them with an account of the riott among the seamen the other day, when Sir J. Minnes did as like a coxcomb as ever I saw any man speak in my life, and so we were dismissed, they making nothing almost of the matter. We staid long without, till by and by my Lord Mayor comes, who also was commanded to be there, and he having, we not being within with him, an admonition from the Lords to take better care of preserving the peace, we joyned with him, and the Lords having commanded Sir J. Minnes to prosecute the fellows for the riott, we rode along with my Lord Mayor in his coach to the Sessions House in the Old Bayley, where the Sessions are now sitting. Here I heard two or three ordinary tryalls, among others one (which, they say, is very common now-a-days, and therefore in my now taking of mayds I resolve to look to have some body to answer for them) a woman that went and was indicted by four names for entering herself a cookemayde to a gentleman that prosecuted her there, and after 3 days run away with a silver tankard, a porringer of silver, and a couple of spoons, and being now found is found guilty, and likely will be hanged. By and by up to dinner with my Lord Mayor and the Aldermen, and a very great dinner and most excellent venison, but it almost made me sick by not daring to drink wine. After dinner into a withdrawing room; and there we talked, among other things, of the Lord Mayor’s sword. They tell me this sword, they believe, is at least a hundred or two hundred years old; and another that he hath, which is called the Black Sword, which the Lord Mayor wears when he mournes, but properly is their Lenten sword to wear upon Good Friday and other Lent days, is older than that. Thence I, leaving Sir J. Minnes to look after his indictment drawing up, I home by water, and there found my wife mightily pleased with a present of shells, fine shells given her by Captain Hickes, and so she and I up and look them over, and indeed they are very pleasant ones. By and by in comes Mr. Lewellin, lately come from Ireland, to see me, and he tells me how the English interest falls mightily there, the Irish party being too great, so that most of the old rebells are found innocent, and their lands, which were forfeited and bought or given to the English, are restored to them; which gives great discontent there among the English. He being gone, I to my office, where late, putting things in order, and so home to supper and to bed. Going through the City, my Lord Mayor told me how the piller set up by Exeter House is only to show where the pipes of water run to the City; and observed that this City is as well watered as any city in the world, and that the bringing the water to the City hath cost it first and last above 300,000l.; but by the new building, and the building of St. James’s by my Lord St. Albans,1 which is now about (and which the City stomach I perceive highly, but dare not oppose it), were it now to be done, it would not be done for a million of money.
- It was at this time that the Earl of St. Albans planned St. James’s Square, which was first styled “The Piazza.” The “Warrant for a grant to Baptist May and Abraham Cowley on nomination of the Earl of St. Albans of several parcels of ground in Pall Mall described, on rental of 80l., for building thereon a square of 13 or 14 great and good houses,” was dated September 24th, 1664.