Monday 23 September 1667

Up, and walked to the Exchange, there to get a coach but failed, and so was forced to walk a most dirty walk to the Old Swan, and there took boat, and so to the Exchange [L&M say “Exchequer”. P.G.], and there took coach to St. James’s and did our usual business with the Duke of York. Thence I walked over the Park to White Hall and took water to Westminster, and there, among other things, bought the examinations of the business about the Fire of London, which is a book that Mrs. Pierce tells me hath been commanded to be burnt. The examinations indeed are very plain. Thence to the Excise office, and so to the Exchange, and did a little business, and so home and took up my wife, and so carried her to the other end, where I ‘light at my Lord Ashly’s, by invitation, to dine there, which I did, and Sir H. Cholmly, Creed, and Yeabsly, upon occasion of the business of Yeabsly, who, God knows, do bribe him very well for it; and it is pretty to see how this great man do condescend to these things, and do all he can in his examining of his business to favour him, and yet with great cunning not to be discovered but by me that am privy to it. At table it is worth remembering that my Lord tells us that the House of Lords is the last appeal that a man can make, upon a poynt of interpretation of the law, and that therein they are above the judges; and that he did assert this in the Lords’ House upon the late occasion of the quarrel between my Lord Bristoll and the Chancellor, when the former did accuse the latter of treason, and the judges did bring it in not to be treason: my Lord Ashly did declare that the judgment of the judges was nothing in the presence of their Lordships, but only as far as they were the properest men to bring precedents; but not to interpret the law to their Lordships, but only the inducements of their persuasions: and this the Lords did concur in. Another pretty thing was my Lady Ashly’s speaking of the bad qualities of glass-coaches; among others, the flying open of the doors upon any great shake: but another was, that my Lady Peterborough being in her glass-coach, with the glass up, and seeing a lady pass by in a coach whom she would salute, the glass was so clear, that she thought it had been open, and so ran her head through the glass, and cut all her forehead! After dinner, before we fell to the examination of Yeabsly’s business, we were put into my Lord’s room before he could come to us, and there had opportunity to look over his state of his accounts of the prizes; and there saw how bountiful the King hath been to several people and hardly any man almost, Commander of the Navy of any note, but hath had some reward or other out of it; and many sums to the Privy-purse, but not so many, I see, as I thought there had been: but we could not look quite through it. But several Bedchamber-men and people about the Court had good sums; and, among others, Sir John Minnes and Lord Bruncker have 200l. a-piece for looking to the East India prizes, while I did their work for them. By and by my Lord come, and we did look over Yeabsly’s business a little; and I find how prettily this cunning Lord can be partial and dissemble it in this case, being privy to the bribe he is to receive. This done; we away, and with Sir H. Cholmly to Westminster; who by the way told me how merry the king and Duke of York and Court were the other day, when they were abroad a-hunting. They come to Sir G. Carteret’s house at Cranbourne, and there were entertained, and all made drunk; and that all being drunk, Armerer did come to the King, and swore to him, “By God, Sir,” says he, “you are not so kind to the Duke of York of late as you used to be.” — “Not I?” says the King. “Why so?” — “Why,” says he, “if you are, let us drink his health.” — “Why, let us,” says the King. Then he fell on his knees, and drank it; and having done, the King began to drink it. “Nay, Sir,” says Armerer, “by God you must do it on your knees!” So he did, and then all the company: and having done it, all fell a-crying for joy, being all maudlin and kissing one another, the King the Duke of York, and the Duke of York the King: and in such a maudlin pickle as never people were: and so passed the day. But Sir H. Cholmly tells me, that the King hath this good luck, that the next day he hates to have any body mention what he had done the day before, nor will suffer any body to gain upon him that way; which is a good quality. Parted with Sir H. Cholmly at White Hall, and there I took coach and took up my wife at Unthanke’s, and so out for ayre, it being a mighty pleasant day, as far as Bow, and so drank by the way, and home, and there to my chamber till by and by comes Captain Cocke about business; who tells me that Mr. Bruncker is lost for ever, notwithstanding my Lord Bruncker hath advised with him, Cocke, how he might make a peace with the Duke of York and Chancellor, upon promise of serving him in the Parliament but Cocke says that is base to offer, and will have no success neither. He says that Mr. Wren hath refused a present of Tom Wilson’s for his place of Store-keeper of Chatham, and is resolved never to take any thing; which is both wise in him, and good to the King’s service. He stayed with me very late, here being Mrs. Turner and W. Batelier drinking and laughing, and then to bed.

11 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"I ‘light at my Lord Ashly’s"

i.e. at Exeter House, Strand
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exeter_House_(London)

Robert Gertz   Link to this

The wheels of the inner workings turning...Thanks, Sam.

tg   Link to this

Another pretty thing was my Lady Ashly’s speaking of the bad qualities of glass-coaches; among others, the flying open of the doors upon any great shake: but another was, that my Lady Peterborough being in her glass-coach, with the glass up, and seeing a lady pass by in a coach whom she would salute, the glass was so clear, that she thought it had been open, and so ran her head through the glass, and cut all her forehead!
This joke never gets old.

Bradford   Link to this

"the King hath this good luck, that the next day he hates to have any body mention what he had done the day before, nor will suffer any body to gain upon him that way; which is a good quality."

How useful in issuing fresh royal edicts.

Tony Eldridge   Link to this

So he did, and then all the company: and having done it, all fell a-crying for joy, being all maudlin and kissing one another, the King the Duke of York, and the Duke of York the King: and in such a maudlin pickle as never people were:
"You're my besht fren' James, honest. I know I said some bad fings about yer, but I din' mean 'em did I?"

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Under such stalwart leadership, how could the war have been lost?

***
"...the King hath this good luck, that the next day he hates to have any body mention what he had done the day before, nor will suffer any body to gain upon him that way; which is a good quality." So alcholic brain damage does have its good side. Wonder if the younger Pitt was likewise aided by his famous addiction to port?

"What lost war?"

***
"...bought the examinations of the business about the Fire of London, which is a book that Mrs. Pierce tells me hath been commanded to be burnt. The examinations indeed are very plain."

I can imagine... The interrogations of hapless foreigners or Papists caught that evening or in the next few were doubtless rather unpleasant.

Of course there's always...

"Witness? What do you mean you saw the King and the Duke of York enter the king's baker's house in Pudding Lane that night red-faced drunk and singing about baking a cake as fast as they could?"

Jesse   Link to this

...baking a cake as fast as they could

It's still awhile before Gillray or Cruikshank could properly render it, but the image is quite clear. Well done!

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"Up, and walked to the Exchange, there to get a coach but failed, and so was forced to walk a most dirty walk to the Old Swan, and there took boat, and so to the Exchange [L&M say “Exchequer”. P.G.], and there took coach to St. James’s and did our usual business with the Duke of York. Thence I walked over the Park to White Hall and took water to Westminster,...."

What a hassle! Today's entry reminds of the Great Fire's aftermath, as Pepys takes public transportation to thread through and circumvent London's ruins.

Spin2Win   Link to this

Pepys is certainly checking out the coaches. How long before he bites the bullet and purchases one for he and the Mrs?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"Pepys is certainly checking out the coaches. How long before he bites the bullet and purchases one for he and the Mrs?"

Ah, the Pepysmobile...

Spoiler...

All one can say is...It will be worth waiting for.

"Girl Wonder? Jane says she's spied the Pepyssignal, we're needed. To the Pepysmobile."

"Pepysman. Atomic batteries to power (whatever those are, Sam'l), turbines to speed."

"Roger, ready to move out...Driver!"

Spinning periwig segue to scene of ranting supervillains The Sun King and his partner the Bishop of Rome...

nix   Link to this

"my Lord tells us that the House of Lords is the last appeal that a man can make, upon a poynt of interpretation of the law" --

The House of Lords was technically the highest court of appeal until 2009. However, after 1876 there was no danger of Lord Fumfininny wandering in after a few brandy-and-sodas and shouting "off with their heads" (unless Lord Fumfininny was one of the specially appointed "Law Lords" who took over the appellate function in that year). The Lords' appellate jurisidction was abolished in favor of a new Supreme Court in 2009.

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