Wednesday 1 May 1667

Up, it being a fine day, and after doing a little business in my chamber I left my wife to go abroad with W. Hewer and his mother in a Hackney coach incognito to the Park, while I abroad to the Excise Office first, and there met the Cofferer and Sir Stephen Fox about our money matters there, wherein we agreed, and so to discourse of my Lord Treasurer, who is a little better than he was of the stone, having rested a little this night. I there did acquaint them of my knowledge of that disease, which I believe will be told my Lord Treasurer. Thence to Westminster; in the way meeting many milk-maids with their garlands upon their pails, dancing with a fiddler before them;1 and saw pretty Nelly standing at her lodgings’ door in Drury-lane in her smock sleeves and bodice, looking upon one: she seemed a mighty pretty creature. To the Hall and there walked a while, it being term. I thence home to the Rose, and then had Doll Lane venir para me … To my Lord Crew’s, where I found them at dinner, and among others. Mrs. Bocket, which I have not seen a long time, and two little dirty children, and she as idle a prating and impertinent woman as ever she was. After dinner my Lord took me alone and walked with me, giving me an account of the meeting of the Commissioners for Accounts, whereof he is one. How some of the gentlemen, Garraway, Littleton, and others, did scruple at their first coming there, being called thither to act, as Members of Parliament, which they could not do by any authority but that of Parliament, and therefore desired the King’s direction in it, which was sent for by my Lord Bridgewater, who brought answer, very short, that the King expected they should obey his Commission. Then they went on, and observed a power to be given them of administering and framing an oath, which they thought they could not do by any power but Act of Parliament; and the whole Commission did think fit to have the judges’ opinion in it; and so, drawing up their scruples in writing, they all attended the King, who told them he would send to the judges to be answered, and did so; who have, my Lord tells me, met three times about it, not knowing what answer to give to it; and they have met this week, doing nothing but expecting the solution of the judges in this point. My Lord tells me he do believe this Commission will do more hurt than good; it may undo some accounts, if these men shall think fit; but it can never clear an account, for he must come into the Exchequer for all this. Besides, it is a kind of inquisition that hath seldom ever been granted in England; and he believes it will never, besides, give any satisfaction to the People or Parliament, but be looked upon as a forced, packed business of the King, especially if these Parliament-men that are of it shall not concur with them: which he doubts they will not, and, therefore, wishes much that the King would lay hold of this fit occasion, and let the Commission fall. Then to talk of my Lord Sandwich, whom my Lord Crew hath a great desire might get to be Lord Treasurer if the present Lord should die, as it is believed he will, in a little time; and thinks he can have no competitor but my Lord Arlington, who, it is given out, desires it: but my Lord thinks it is not so, for that the being Secretary do keep him a greater interest with the King than the other would do at least, do believe, that if my Lord would surrender him his Wardrobe place, it would be a temptation to Arlington to assist my Lord in getting the Treasurer’s. I did object to my Lord [Crew] that it would be no place of content, nor safety, nor honour for my Lord, the State being so indigent as it is, and the [King] so irregular, and those about him, that my Lord must be forced to part with anything to answer his warrants; and that, therefore, I do believe the King had rather have a man that may be one of his vicious caball, than a sober man that will mind the publick, that so they may sit at cards and dispose of the revenue of the kingdom. This my Lord was moved at, and said he did not indeed know how to answer it, and bid me think of it; and so said he himself would also do. He do mightily cry out of the bad management of our monies, the King having had so much given him; and yet, when the Parliament do find that the King should have 900,000l. in his purse by the best account of issues they have yet seen, yet we should report in the Navy a debt due from the King of 900,000l.; which, I did confess, I doubted was true in the first, and knew to be true in the last, and did believe that there was some great miscarriages in it: which he owned to believe also, saying, that at this rate it is not in the power of the kingdom to make a war, nor answer the King’s wants. Thence away to the King’s playhouse, by agreement met Sir W. Pen, and saw “Love in a Maze” but a sorry play: only Lacy’s clowne’s part, which he did most admirably indeed; and I am glad to find the rogue at liberty again. Here was but little, and that ordinary, company. We sat at the upper bench next the boxes; and I find it do pretty well, and have the advantage of seeing and hearing the great people, which may be pleasant when there is good store. Now was only Prince Rupert and my Lord Lauderdale, and my Lord, the naming of whom puts me in mind of my seeing, at Sir Robert Viner’s, two or three great silver flagons, made with inscriptions as gifts of the King to such and such persons of quality as did stay in town the late great plague, for the keeping things in order in the town, which is a handsome thing. But here was neither Hart, Nell, nor Knipp; therefore, the play was not likely to please me. Thence Sir W. Pen and I in his coach, Tiburne way, into the Park, where a horrid dust, and number of coaches, without pleasure or order. That which we, and almost all went for, was to see my Lady Newcastle; which we could not, she being followed and crowded upon by coaches all the way she went, that nobody could come near her; only I could see she was in a large black coach, adorned with silver instead of gold, and so white curtains, and every thing black and white, and herself in her cap, but other parts I could not make [out]. But that which I did see, and wonder at with reason, was to find Pegg Pen in a new coach, with only her husband’s pretty sister with her, both patched and very fine, and in much the finest coach in the park, and I think that ever I did see one or other, for neatness and richness in gold, and everything that is noble. My Lady Castlemayne, the King, my Lord St. Albans, nor Mr. Jermyn, have so neat a coach, that ever I saw. And, Lord! to have them have this, and nothing else that is correspondent, is to me one of the most ridiculous sights that ever I did see, though her present dress was well enough; but to live in the condition they do at home, and be abroad in this coach, astonishes me. When we had spent half an hour in the Park, we went out again, weary of the dust, and despairing of seeing my Lady Newcastle; and so back the same way, and to St. James’s, thinking to have met my Lady Newcastle before she got home, but we staying by the way to drink, she got home a little before us: so we lost our labours, and then home; where we find the two young ladies come home, and their patches off, I suppose Sir W. Pen do not allow of them in his sight, and going out of town to-night, though late, to Walthamstow. So to talk a little at Sir W. Batten’s, and then home to supper, where I find Mrs. Hewer and her son, who have been abroad with my wife in the Park, and so after supper to read and then to bed. Sir W. Pen did give me an account this afternoon of his design of buying Sir Robert Brooke’s fine house at Wansted; which I so wondered at, and did give him reasons against it, which he allowed of: and told me that he did intend to pull down the house and build a less, and that he should get 1500l. by the old house, and I know not what fooleries. But I will never believe he ever intended to buy it, for my part; though he troubled Mr. Gawden to go and look upon it, and advise him in it.

  1. On the 1st of May milkmaids used to borrow silver cups, tankards, &c., to hang them round their milkpails, with the addition of flowers and ribbons, which they carried upon their heads, accompanied by a bagpipe or fiddle, and went from door to door, dancing before the houses of their customers, in order to obtain a small gratuity from each of them.

    In London thirty years ago, When pretty milkmaids went about, It was a goodly sight to see Their May-day pageant all drawn out.

    Such scenes and sounds once blest my eyes And charm’d my ears; but all have vanish’d, On May-day now no garlands go, For milkmaids and their dance are banish’d.

    Hone’s Every-Day Book, vol. i., pp. 569, 570.

15 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"…. Thence to Westminster, in the way meeting many milk-maids with their garlands upon their pails, dancing with a fiddler before them, and saw pretty Nelly standing at her lodgings door in Drury-lane in her smock-sleeves and bodice, looking upon one ­ she seemed a mighty pretty creature. To the Hall and there walked a while, it being term; and thence home to the Rose and there had Doll Lane vener para me; but it was in a lugar mighty ouvert, so as we no poda hazer algo; so parted and then met again at the Swan, where for la misma reason we no pode hazer, but put off to recontrar anon, which I only used as a put-off; and so parted and to my Lord Crew’s, where I found them at dinner; and among others, Mrs. Bocket, which I have not seen in a long time, and two little dirty children, and she as idle a prating, impertinent woman as ever she was."

http://www.pepys.info/bits5.html

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"After dinner my Lord [Crew] took me alone and walked with me, giving me an account of the meeting of the Commissioners for Accounts, whereof he is one....the King expected they should obey his Commission. Then they went on, and observed a power to be given them of administering and framing an oath, which they thought they could not do by any power but Act of Parliament; and the whole Commission did think fit to have the judges' opinion in it;....My Lord tells me he do believe this Commission will do more hurt than good; it may undo some accounts, if these men shall think fit; but it can never clear an account, for he must come into the Exchequer for all this. Besides, it is a kind of inquisition that hath seldom ever been granted in England;...."

"In this [ 1667-1668 ] volume of the Calendar [ of Treasury Books ]...financial difficulties are gathering quickly round Charles's head, and we can now see a little more clearly the straits he was in, the shifts his officials in every department were driven to, as gradually and inevitably the country drifted to bankruptcy—the first acknowledged national bankruptcy in our history. The Treasury itself was abjectly in the hands of the bankers and tax farmers, of whom it was incessantly begging loans, and with all its importunity it could not raise ready cash sufficient for the services. It was reduced to working departmental expenditure on a credit basis of its own invention by issuing batches of orders (so much paper merely) to the Lieutenant of the Ordnance, the Treasurer of the Navy, the Paymaster of the Forces, and so on. These orders were simply assignations on distantly accruing funds. They represent a development of the idea of the tally of assignation and foreshadow in a clumsy, unscientific way, the later system of Exchequer bills. If the departmental Treasurer to whom a batch of such orders was issued as an imprest could not induce his creditors to accept the orders as payment, then he was left to raise a loan on them by pledging his own personal credit in addition. In this way, for instance, during the Dutch war, Sir George Carteret kept the British fleet at sea by raising yearly a quarter of a million on his own credit at a time when the Treasury Lords were unable to assist him and when the fleet would otherwise have had to be laid up in harbour. The working of the system at one end of it is succinctly explained in a passage of Pepys's diary. (fn. 1)
(fn. 1 -- Pepys VI., 133. 16 January 1666/67)
"Walking a good while with Sir Stephen Fox [Paymaster of the Guards], who among other things told me his whole mystery in the business of the interest he pays as Treasurer for the Army. They gave him 12d. per £ quite through the army with condition to be paid weekly. This he undertakes upon his own private credit and to be paid by the King at the end of every 4 months: then for all the time he stays longer [for his money in repayment] the Lord Treasurer [Southampton] allows him 8 per cent. per annum for the forbearance. So that in fine he hath about 12 per cent. from the king and the army [i.e. 5 per cent. from the army and 8 per cent. from the Treasury] for 15 or 16 months' interest, out of which he gains soundly, his expense [the total money so raised by him on credit] being about 130,000l. per an."
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1667/01/16/

[...]
"The conclusion which I draw from [ ( these ) Tabular Statement(s) of such portions of the National Expenditure as were provided for by actual cash out of the Exchequer ] is, broadly speaking, that the money which the Parliament voted for the Dutch war would have been about sufficient to provide for the growing debt on the ordinary or peace establishment of the country. That is to say, that averaged out over the whole period—1660­8—it would have sufficed to bring up the income of the administration to that 1,200,000l. per an. which the Parliament had pledged itself to provide. In this sense therefore it may be said that the Parliament left Charles to fight the Dutch without any aid whatever; although they had themselves promoted the war.
[...]
"In the following month, March, 1667, whilst the Parliament still lay prorogued and whilst the management of the Dutch war was bringing deeper and deeper shame upon the country Charles issued out his Commission for the taking and examining the accounts of the moneys voted for the war, viz. the Royal Aid and the Additional Aid, the three months' tax of 70,000l. a month, and the prizes taken in the war.
[...]
"Such proceeding on the part of the Lords helps us to measure the distance which separates the constitutional practice of the Seventeenth century from that of our own time. And at the same time it helps us to an understanding of the extraordinary action of the Upper House with regard to the proposed Joint Committee of Accounts. The key to its action was its sensitiveness as to the royal prerogative. An enquiry into public accounts might be held, and even upon oath, but it was not for the Parliament to do it—it was for the King himself of his own free will to do it. This is quite manifestly the underlying thought. On the 22nd Nov. 1666, the Lords considered the report from their committee of privileges, and resolved to have a conference with the Commons, and on the following day, the 23rd Nov., the heads to be propounded at the conference were reported to the Lords by the Lord Privy Seal as follows: (fn. 15) "As to the matter [the Lords] are willing to agree to examining of accounts on oath, but as to the manner do not find it warranted by course of Parliament that any Committee of Lords and Commons upon any occasion have had the power given them to examine on oath.
[...]
As to the commission itself, its history is brief. Under the date 1 May, 1667, Pepys gives an account of the first meetings of the Commissioners which had taken place evidently in the course of the preceding few weeks."

"Pepys' account is substantially confirmed by a State paper which undoubtedly belongs to the same period, March­May, 1667; and also by two other incidental references in the State Papers Domestic. (fn. 30) In April there was a report that they were to sit shortly, (fn. 31) and in the following month there is a more circumstantial statement to the effect that the Committee had requested the King to appoint judges to satisfy them how far they may legally proceed in their Commission. (fn. 32) ...."

'Introduction', Calendar of Treasury Books, Volume 2: 1667-1668 (1905), pp. VII-LXXXVII. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?co... which is a history of British state finance, 1660-68, William A. Shaw (editor).

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"To the Hall and there walked a while, it being term. "

Sc. the courts' Easter Term http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_term

JWB   Link to this

May Day
"Hone’s Every-Day Book":

http://www.uab.edu/english/hone/etexts/edb/day-...

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

A Restoration Comedy in at least 3 Acts.

" There will be a great show of the court at the Park today, Bess. Why don't you go?"

"Oh, Sam, you know we have no coach."

"Just run along with Will and his mother. I'll pay for the hackney. Oh, but be sure to wear a mask. Don't want the gentry to see my wife in a rental, you know."

"But what about you, Sam, aren't you coming?"

"Alas, business calls, my dear."

Off to The Rose...

At the end of the day Sir William stops by The Rose for a glass and a chat with Doll Lane.

"You should have seen his eyes pop when he saw my Peg in her coach. Naked envy! Then I brought up the house at Wansted he considers so fine. Said I planned to buy it, tear it down, and put up something truly handsome. He literally sputtered with objections. Thought I'd teach the young upstart a lesson."

"My thought too," says Doll.

Apologies to R Gertz.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"I left my wife to go abroad with W. Hewer and his mother in a Hackney coach incognito to the Park..."

"Before we go anywhere...'Mother' wants 'er five shillings." the stand-in 'Mrs. Hewer' frowns at the couple across from her.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...met the Cofferer and Sir Stephen Fox about our money matters there, wherein we agreed..."

"Broke, gentlemen?"

"Ruined, Pepys. Sir Stephen?"

"Agreed, we're done for. I recommend we practice our French."

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...saw pretty Nelly standing at her lodgings’ door in Drury-lane in her smock sleeves and bodice, looking upon one: she seemed a mighty pretty creature..."

"You, there! Bug-eyes!! Yes, you with the papers!"

"Miss Gwyn...I...?"

"You were staring at me like a starvin' man. Do I know you? Wait, I met you at the house...The bug-eyed one with the bad wig full of nits and the pretty wife?"

"Pepys, ma'am."

"Yes, you were...But it's not for free you know." grin.

"I mean... Miss Nelly, I am Samuel Pepys, of the Naval Office."

"Oh..." smile, cocked head. "You're that fellow...I've heard of you, Mr. Pepys who enjoys his name so much. Betty Knipp goes on about you all the time, poor lamb. You naughtly little...And you with such a sweet little wife."

Cough...Gurgle...Ummn...

"Oh? And how is dear Mrs. Knipp?"

"Not as dear as I, Samuel. Unless of course...I rather fancy a fellow. And of course, my tastes don't always run to the tall, strong, and stupid."

Choke at her grin...Gasp...

"Breathe, Sammy." pats back.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"Then to talk of my Lord Sandwich, whom my Lord Crew hath a great desire might get to be Lord Treasurer..."

Who, ummn...More fit for the job of managing the Nation's finances?

We can only pray he lets Creed, Sam, Jemina and his dad-in-law do the real work.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"I do believe the King had rather have a man that may be one of his vicious caball, than a sober man that will mind the publick, that so they may sit at cards and dispose of the revenue of the kingdom. This my Lord was moved at, and said he did not indeed know how to answer it, and bid me think of it; and so said he himself would also do."

Whoa...Dangerous talk, Samuel. Revolutions have begun with less.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Or trials for high treason...

Australian Susan   Link to this

Sam doesn't seem to have enjoyed his play today very much. Wonder if it would have seemed less ordinary if he was not so worried about finances.

The milk maids collecting gratuities is like other trades/services collecting Christmas Boxes.

No mention of Bess washing her face in May Day dew or collecting may blossom (flowering hawthorn) to decorate the house. Pleasanter pastimes one would have thought than riding round the dusty Park to see and be seen (unless RG's fantasy has a nugget of truth!)

cum salis grano   Link to this

what dothe he mean :? "...with W. Hewer and his mother in a Hackney coach incognito to the Park,..."
no trumpets or strumpets to announce his "presents".

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

"As to the commission itself, its history is brief."

It is tempting to see a parallel between Charles's desire to deflect criticism for his handling of accounts and President Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility as a device to relieve him of his promise not to raise certain taxes AFTER he has signed into law two large new entitlements (for health care and student loans).

Mary   Link to this

"in a Hackney coach incognito"

In a closed coach, according to L&M footnote.

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