Saturday 15 December 1666

Up and to the office, where my Lord Bruncker newly come to town, from his being at Chatham and Harwich to spy enormities: and at noon I with him and his lady Williams, to Captain Cocke’s, where a good dinner, and very merry. Good news to-day upon the Exchange, that our Hamburgh fleete is got in; and good hopes that we may soon have the like of our Gottenburgh, and then we shall be well for this winter. Very merry at dinner. And by and by comes in Matt. Wren from the Parliament-house; and tells us that he and all his party of the House, which is the Court party, are fools, and have been made so this day by the wise men of the other side; for, after the Court party had carried it yesterday so powerfully for the Paper-Bill,1 yet now it is laid aside wholly, and to be supplied by a land-tax; which it is true will do well, and will be the sooner finished, which was the great argument for the doing of it. But then it shews them fools, that they would not permit this to have been done six weeks ago, which they might have had. And next, they have parted with the Paper Bill, which, when once begun, might have proved a very good flower in the Crowne, as any there. So do really say that they are truly outwitted by the other side. Thence away to Sir R. Viner’s, and there chose some plate besides twelve plates which I purpose to have with Captain Cocke’s gift of 100l., and so home and there busy late, and then home and to bed.

  1. It was called “A Bill for raising part of the supply for his Majesty by an imposition on Sealed Paper and Parchment”—B.

13 Annotations

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"And next, they have parted with the Paper Bill, which, when once begun, might have proved a very good flower in the Crowne, as any there."

Doesn't matter, we got the money...Sam can afford to make a pun.

So are we seeing the first of Tories and Whigs battling it out here? Rather charming that it begins with admiration for the "wise men" of the other side.

JWB   Link to this

"...to spy enormities..."

I take to mean to discover what not thought proper.

CGS   Link to this

enormities [ excess in bacheesh? ] [2 x 4s being used for home repairs, Masts for children's Maypole the usual stuff that drops off the donkey cart be my take]
enormity

[ad. Fr. énormité, ad. L. {emac}normit{amac}tem, f. {emac}normis (see ENORM).]

1. Divergence from a normal standard or type; abnormality, irregularity. Obs. or arch.
1538

b. concr. Something that is abnormal; an irregularity, extravagance, eccentricity. Obs.
1494 FABYAN

2. Deviation from moral or legal rectitude. In later use influenced by ENORMOUS 3: Extreme or monstrous wickedness.
1563
b. concr. A breach of law or morality; a transgression, crime; in later use, a gross and monstrous offence.
1475

3. Excess in magnitude; hugeness, vastness. Obs.; recent examples might perh. be found, but the use is now regarded as incorrect.
1792

CGS   Link to this

Samuell gets the low down on what really did happen, the expurgated copy is in the House.

cape henry   Link to this

"...his party of the House, which is the Court party, are fools, and have been made so this day by the wise men of the other side..." Now here is a difference twixt that time and this. Just try to imagine any person in the A Party admitting that any person or idea of the B Party is in any way "wise." Though this was said in private, allied company, to be sure, there seems to be a genuine recognition and approbation on the merits.

Tony Eldridge   Link to this

"Thence away to Sir R. Viner’s, and there chose some plate besides twelve plates which I purpose to have with Captain Cocke’s gift of 100l."
So much more subtle than a fat brown envelope.

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"to spy enormities"
Methinks it means to spy a lot,like the CIA.

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

"wise men"

I think the meaning here is "clever, skilled" rather than worthy to be followed. Not so surprising to hear such rueful comments being expressed from one insider to another, whatever the public posture may be. Politics is full of maneuvers, and it would be a dull and ineffective pol who failed see he had been outmaneuvered, and to examine why.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...to spy enormities..."

"So your trip was productive, my Lord?"

"Pepys, the things I learned as to what is going on...Unbelievable, the theft...The graft."

"A sad state of affairs, my Lord."

"Deplorable. And do you know Pepys, I've even heard that merchants and other suppliers are attempting to bribe some of our pursers and victualling clerks...With rumors that the corruption penetrates to higher levels."

Ummn...

"Unbelievable, my Lord. Were any names mentioned, my Lord? That we might proceed..."

"My investigations are continuing...And we must be vigilant, Samuel. Your own victualling staff will be essential in uncovering these crimes against the people and Nation."

"I shall look to it, my Lord, with all good heart."

"And worst of all..." Bruncker sighs, motioning Sam to a secure corner.

"My Lord...?"

"Sam. I have had reports that women...Wives and daughters of some of our employees...Have been abused, forced to grant...Dare I say it?...Sexual favors...To some in authority over them. Truly monstrous, eh Samuel? Such evil must be hunted down and purged without mercy. I shall recommend the death penalty to the King."

Sam?...Pats a coughing Pepys...

"A crime deserving the most severe and swift punishment, my Lord."

language hat   Link to this

"Methinks it means to spy a lot,like the CIA."

No, it means to look for irregularities. Read the definition CGS so helpfully posted.

CGS   Link to this

"...by the wise men of the other side..."
a bit tongue in cheek?
wise man OED:
b. Ironically applied to a fool or simpleton, as in the wise men of Gotham (see GOTHAM 1).
[1471 Paston Lett. III. 32 Yonge Wyseman othyrwy[s]e callyd Foole.] 1526, c1560 [see GOTHAM 1].

1596 RALEIGH Discov. Guiana 5 Who like Wise men in the absence of their Captaine followed the Indians.

1711 Countrey-Mans Lett. to Curate 32 It were..too Churlish to grudge these talkers the Character of the only Wisemen of G{emem}

Australian Susan   Link to this

The King's Friends were the first sort of recognised Parliamentary grouping which could be called a Party. We are seeing the beginnings of this here. But even when Parties were well established in the 19th century, voting was still being done according to social networking rather than straight Party lines. Valerie Cromwell of the History Dept. at the University of Sussex did some interesting work on finding this out by analyzing voting patterns of 19th c Parliaments. I worked as her research asst. for a time (we are talking 1979 here, folks). So it is not really like Democrats and Republicans or Liberal and Labor (Oz) or Labour and Conservative (UK contemp) - very loose grouping.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

121. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The gentleman who reached the English ambassador (fn. 2) has brought the most definite news from Braganza.... He must be recognised as king or else as an enemy.....
The earl of Sanduich....expressed regret at a difficulty which has now been rendered insurmountable....
It is certain that the peace and the royal title are as much abhorrent to them here as they are desired in Lisbon....
...It is quite true that they suspect that Braganza, being so closely united with the king [of England], his brother-in-law, both in blood and by pledges, is unable to consent to any proposal unless it is supported or put forward by his mediation.....
In some Juntas they have begun to discuss the question of settling the difficulties of trade with England..... It is feared that England will not agree, and seeing itself so powerful at sea, it may choose to lay down the law to the weaker party [i.e. Spain]. The ambassadors of France and Holland are watching this particular question with the closest attention. If the government [of Spain] makes any concession in favour of the British king, they will immediately wish to forestall it, especially for free trade in the Indies....
Madrid, the 15th December, 1666.
[Italian; deciphered.] http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?co...

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