Sunday 7 October 1666

(Lord’s day). Up, and after visiting my father in his chamber, to church, and then home to dinner. Little Michell and his wife come to dine with us, which they did, and then presently after dinner I with Sir J. Minnes to White Hall, where met by Sir W. Batten and Lord Bruncker, to attend the King and Duke of York at the Cabinet; but nobody had determined what to speak of, but only in general to ask for money. So I was forced immediately to prepare in my mind a method of discoursing. And anon we were called in to the Green Room, where the King, Duke of York, Prince Rupert, Lord Chancellor, Lord Treasurer, Duke of Albemarle, [Sirs] G. Carteret, W. Coventry, Morrice. Nobody beginning, I did, and made a current, and I thought a good speech, laying open the ill state of the Navy: by the greatness of the debt; greatness of work to do against next yeare; the time and materials it would take; and our incapacity, through a total want of money. I had no sooner done, but Prince Rupert rose up and told the King in a heat, that whatever the gentleman had said, he had brought home his fleete in as good a condition as ever any fleete was brought home; that twenty boats would be as many as the fleete would want: and all the anchors and cables left in the storm might be taken up again. This arose from my saying, among other things we had to do, that the fleete was come in — the greatest fleete that ever his Majesty had yet together, and that in as bad condition as the enemy or weather could put it; and to use Sir W. Pen’s words, who is upon the place taking a survey, he dreads the reports he is to receive from the Surveyors of its defects. I therefore did only answer, that I was sorry for his Highness’s offence, but that what I said was but the report we received from those entrusted in the fleete to inform us. He muttered and repeated what he had said; and so, after a long silence on all hands, nobody, not so much as the Duke of Albemarle, seconding the Prince, nor taking notice of what he said, we withdrew. I was not a little troubled at this passage, and the more when speaking with Jacke Fenn about it, he told me that the Prince will be asking now who this Pepys is, and find him to be a creature of my Lord Sandwich’s, and therefore this was done only to disparage him. Anon they broke, up, and Sir W. Coventry come out; so I asked his advice. He told me he had said something to salve it, which was, that his Highnesse had, he believed, rightly informed the King that the fleete is come in good condition to have staid out yet longer, and have fought the enemy, but yet that Mr. Pepys his meaning might be, that, though in so good condition, if they should come in and lie all the winter, we shall be very loth to send them to sea for another year’s service with[out] great repairs. He said it would be no hurt if I went to him, and showed him the report himself brought up from the fleete, where every ship, by the Commander’s report, do need more or less, and not to mention more of Sir W. Pen for doing him a mischief. So I said I would, but do not think that all this will redound to my hurt, because the truth of what I said will soon appear. Thence, having been informed that, after all this pains, the King hath found out how to supply us with 5 or 6000l., when 100,000l. were at this time but absolutely necessary, and we mentioned 50,000l.. This is every day a greater and greater omen of ruine. God fit us for it! Sir J. Minnes and I home (it raining) by coach, calling only on Sir G. Carteret at his lodging (who is I find troubled at my Lord Treasurer and Sir Ph. Warwicke bungling in his accounts), and come home to supper with my father, and then all to bed. I made my brother in his cassocke to say grace this day, but I like his voice so ill that I begin to be sorry he hath taken this order upon him.

12 Annotations

Jesse   Link to this

"though in so good condition, if they should come in and lie all the winter..."

Not bad. I would have gone with... in so good condition considering how hard, fierce and bravely they fought.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

What a vivid and wonderful scene, in the cabinet meeting. I rolled over all the names and looked at the portraits, to try to form a better picture in my head of the event.

I do wonder who the "him" is in "it would be no hurt if I went to him, and showed him the report himself brought up from the fleete" - Prince Rupert or the King? If it's Rupert, Sam's going to have to screw his courage to the sticking-place to do it.

A. Hamilton   Link to this

Sam gets the juices stirred up with his account of Rupert's outburst.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"We quarrel in print, by the book, as you have books for good manners: I will name you the degrees." ("As You Like It")

"The first, the Retort Courteous":

"This arose from my saying, among other things we had to do, that the fleete was come in — the greatest fleete that ever his Majesty had yet together, and that in as bad condition as the enemy or weather could put it;"

"...second, the Quip Modest;":
"...and to use Sir W. Pen’s words, who is upon the place taking a survey, he dreads the reports he is to receive from the Surveyors of its defects."

"...third, the Reply Churlish;":

"I had no sooner done, but Prince Rupert rose up and told the King in a heat, that whatever the gentleman had said, he had brought home his fleete in as good a condition as ever any fleete was brought home; that twenty boats would be as many as the fleete would want: and all the anchors and cables left in the storm might be taken up again."

"...fourth, the Reproof Valiant;":

"I therefore did only answer, that I was sorry for his Highness’s offence, but that what I said was but the report we received from those entrusted in the fleete to inform us."

"...fifth, the Countercheck Quarrelsome;"

"He muttered and repeated what he had said..."

"...sixth, the Lie with Circumstance;":

"Anon they broke, up, and Sir W. Coventry come out; so I asked his advice. He told me he had said something to salve it, which was, that his Highnesse had, he believed, rightly informed the King that the fleete is come in good condition to have staid out yet longer, and have fought the enemy, but yet that Mr. Pepys his meaning might be, that, though in so good condition, if they should come in and lie all the winter, we shall be very loth to send them to sea for another year’s service with[out] great repairs."

"...seventh, the Lie Direct.":

"He said it would be no hurt if I went to him, and showed him the report himself brought up from the fleete, where every ship, by the Commander’s report, do need more or less, and not to mention more of Sir W. Pen for doing him a mischief."

andy   Link to this

Sam's "Oops!" moment vividly described. Prince Rupert - not a man to have as your enemy.

Mr. Gunning   Link to this

Life is cruel eh Sam?

First no-one would speak, so you grasped the nettle and spoke up only to have Prince Rupert refer to you as "the gentleman" no doubt through gritted teeth!

And later he will be asking who "this Pepys" is (teeth gritted as above) only to find you a creature of Sandwich's.

And here's you with only the Navy's interest at heart.

Welcome to the world of office politics Sam!

Mary   Link to this

Morrice

No immediate clue as to this gentleman's identity. Could perhaps be Sir William Morice, who was M.P. for Plymouth and Secretary of State (Northern Department) from 1660 - 1668. If it is he, he was a kinsman to Albemarle.

No wonder Pepys was anxious about addressing and answering to such a heavy-weight gathering.

Mary   Link to this

Morrice again.

Just possibly the Morrice (? Humphrey) who was an official at the Exchequer, though he didn't attain the rank of Auditor of Land Revenue there until 1667.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

Morrice -- yet again

L&M offer no clues. I would think that its Sir William Morice; his post is of similar seniority to the others and as a Protestant power the Dutch would be within the Northern Department's responsibilities.

Michael L   Link to this

Prince Rupert is also known for his amazing drops of glass that are very tough while simultaneously being brittle and explosive: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Rupert%27s_...

Videos at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6V2eCFsDkK0 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pdy2_vi0FfM.

Nix   Link to this

The clash with Rupert brings to mind the 2003 episode when Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz forced out General Shinseki as Army chief of staff for telling Congress that the Pentagon's troop estimates for Iraq were inadequate.

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

"Thence, having been informed that, after all this pains, the King hath found out how to supply us with 5 or 6000l., when 100,000l. were at this time but absolutely necessary, and we mentioned 50,000l.. This is every day a greater and greater omen of ruine."

Going through my own budget battles now, and I know just what you mean, Sam...

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