Friday 19 October 1666

Up, and by coach to my Lord Ashly’s, and thence (he being gone out), to the Exchequer chamber, and there find him and my Lord Bellasses about my Lord Bellasses’ accounts, which was the business I went upon. This was soon ended, and then I with Creed back home to my house, and there he and I did even accounts for salary, and by that time dinner was ready, and merry at dinner, and then abroad to Povy’s, who continues as much confounded in all his business as ever he was; and would have had me paid money, as like a fool as himself, which I troubled him in refusing; but I did persist in it. After a little more discourse, I left them, and to White Hall, where I met with Sir Robert Viner, who told me a little of what, in going home, I had seen; also a little of the disorder and mutiny among the seamen at the Treasurer’s office, which did trouble me then and all day since, considering how many more seamen will come to towne every day, and no money for them. A Parliament sitting, and the Exchange close by, and an enemy to hear of, and laugh at it.1 Viner too, and Backewell, were sent for this afternoon; and was before the King and his Cabinet about money; they declaring they would advance no more, it being discoursed of in the House of Parliament for the King to issue out his privy-seals to them to command them to trust him, which gives them reason to decline trusting. But more money they are persuaded to lend, but so little that (with horrour I speake it), coming after the Council was up, with Sir G. Carteret, Sir W. Coventry, Lord Bruncker, and myself, I did lay the state of our condition before the Duke of York, that the fleete could not go out without several things it wanted, and we could not have without money, particularly rum and bread, which we have promised the man Swan to helpe him to 200l. of his debt, and a few other small sums of 200l. a piece to some others, and that I do foresee the Duke of York would call us to an account why the fleete is not abroad, and we cannot answer otherwise than our want of money; and that indeed we do not do the King any service now, but do rather abuse and betray his service by being there, and seeming to do something, while we do not. Sir G. Carteret asked me (just in these words, for in this and all the rest I set down the very words for memory sake, if there should be occasion) whether 50l. or 60l. would do us any good; and when I told him the very rum man must have 200l., he held up his eyes as if we had asked a million. Sir W. Coventry told the Duke of York plainly he did rather desire to have his commission called in than serve in so ill a place, where he cannot do the King service, and I did concur in saying the same. This was all very plain, and the Duke of York did confess that he did not see how we could do anything without a present supply of 20,000l., and that he would speak to the King next Council day, and I promised to wait on him to put him in mind of it. This I set down for my future justification, if need be, and so we broke up, and all parted, Sir W. Coventry being not very well, but I believe made much worse by this night’s sad discourse. So I home by coach, considering what the consequence of all this must be in a little time. Nothing but distraction and confusion; which makes me wish with all my heart that I were well and quietly settled with what little I have got at Brampton, where I might live peaceably, and study, and pray for the good of the King and my country. Home, and to Sir W. Batten’s, where I saw my Lady, who is now come down stairs after a great sickness. Sir W. Batten was at the pay to-day, and tells me how rude the men were, but did go away quietly, being promised pay on Wednesday next. God send us money for it! So to the office, and then to supper and to bed. Among other things proposed in the House to-day, to give the King in lieu of chimneys, there was the bringing up of sealed paper, such as Sir J. Minnes shewed me to-night, at Sir W. Batten’s, is used in Spayne, and brings the King a great revenue; but it shows what shifts we are put to too much.

  1. The King of Denmark was induced to conclude a treaty with the United Provinces, a secret article of which bound him to declare war against England. The order in council for the printing and publishing a declaration of war against Denmark is dated “Whitehall, Sept. 19, 1666;” annexed is “A True Declaration of all transactions between his Majesty of Great Britain and the King of Denmark, with a declaration of war against the said king, and the motives that obliged his Majesty thereunto” (“Calendar of State Papers,” 1666-67, p. 140).

7 Annotations

Michael L   Link to this

"there was the bringing up of sealed paper, such as ... is used in Spayne, and brings the King a great revenue"

This sounds similar to a Stamp Tax. If so, it would not finally take hold in England until 1694: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stamp_duty_in_the_...

cape henry   Link to this

"...held up his eyes as if we had asked a million." The most comical line in a comical scene.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...and then I with Creed back home to my house, and there he and I did even accounts for salary, and by that time dinner was ready, and merry at dinner..."

Deadly enemies last time, merry at dinner today...One never knows how the Creedometer lies.

50-60L? 200Ls?! Good grief, Jamie! Sell one of your new vests, for heaven's sake or tell Sam, Coventry, Batten, Penn, Minnes, Carteret, and the office gang they're each contributing a few pounds to the greater good. Mind-boggling...

On the other hand, great news for the Hague...

language hat   Link to this

"which makes me wish with all my heart that I were well and quietly settled with what little I have got at Brampton, where I might live peaceably, and study, and pray for the good of the King and my country."

Danton was always talking about how what he really wanted was to retire to Arcis and live peaceably among simple country folk. I guess if you're busy enough with public affairs you have to console yourself with this kind of fantasy.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Diary of Alternate Sam...

October 20, 1666...

Up with the cock, for God knows what reason, there being nothing to do in this worthless hell-hole to which I condemned myself following the outbreak of plague last year. My wife not to be found on waking...I sought her in the kitchen where she and I had bitter words regarding her annoyance with what she calls 'my jealousy' and her complaints as to the barrenness of our lives here. I for my part did tear up to her some odd and ends of what my mother had said regarding her loose bearing at Hinchingbrook the other day with Captain Ferrers. She did deny it and in bad humor all the morning, insisting that she would in spite of my command to stay be off to dine with my Lady Sandwich. I for my turn did walk about the garden, kicking plants and did injury to my foot in so doing. Summoned by my cousin Tom to sit in at a petty dispute of my neighbors' over the placement of a new fence, I did dine there, where the food bad and ill-prepared and the company as ever of low sort in which I took no pleasure. On returning was vexed to find my wife had indeed gone off to dine with my Lady and remained in very bad humor all the afternoon, nursing my foot and reading in my books. Further disappointed in the evening to learn that the local fool I had called on to build me a new press for my books had done but clumsy, ill work...Yet as I have no longer call on the service I once did, it cannot be helped. Hewer did come in the afternoon bearing letters from London but no reply from Mr. Evelyn whom Hewer says is most busy with affairs of state these days. Nor does Mr. Hooke nor any of my other old friends reply, excepting a letter from Creed who tells me he does well in my old position. My wife returned in late evening...Six of the clock as I noted to her. She did desire to be friends and mentioned with rather odd air she would endeavor not to see Captain Ferrers again as it displeases me. Her manner troubles me, she giving me many sorrowful looks and I am resolved to follow her should she go about tomorrow. Gave her a lesson in astronomy, she growing in disquiet until the end when she begged me my forgiveness of her faults in such strident tones that I was loathe to do so until she had told me what such faults she referred to were, she denying more than her sorrow at displeasing me and her discontent with our country life.

I find will not be able to continue my journal after this for a week for want of paper...Miserable hell-hole of a place...

And so to bed...Which did collapse under us, rotted old thing...And not a good workman to be found to restore it until he can be called from London.

Katherine   Link to this

Have been reading for years without posting, but I break silence now to say Alternate Sam is the funniest thing ever posted in the annotations. Thanks Robert! Brilliantly written.

Kevin Peter   Link to this

Agreed. Alternate Sam was well written and very funny.

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.