Monday 28 October 1667
Up, and by water to White Hall (calling at Michell’s and drank a dram of strong water, but it being early I did not see his wife), and thence walked to Sir W. Coventry’s lodging, but he was gone out, and so going towards St. James’s I find him at his house which is fitting for him; and there I to him, and was with him above an hour alone, discoursing of the matters of the nation, and our Office, and himself. He owns that he is, at this day, the chief person aymed at by the Parliament — that is, by the friends of my Lord Chancellor, and also by the Duke of Albemarle, by reason of his unhappy shewing of the Duke of Albemarle’s letter, the other day, in the House; but that he thinks that he is not liable to any hurt they can fasten on him for anything, he is so well armed to justify himself in every thing, unless in the old business of selling places, when he says every body did; and he will now not be forward to tell his own story, as he hath been; but tells me he is grown wiser, and will put them to prove any thing, and he will defend himself: besides that, he will dispute the statute, thinking that it will not be found to reach him. We did talk many things, which, as they come into my mind now, I shall set down without order: that he is weary of public employment; and neither ever designed, nor will ever, if his commission were brought to him wrapt in gold, would he accept of any single place in the State, as particularly Secretary of State; which, he says, the world discourses Morrice is willing to resign, and he thinks the King might have thought of him, but he would not, by any means, now take it, if given him, nor anything, but in commission with others, who may bear part of the blame; for now he observes well, that whoever did do anything singly are now in danger, however honest and painful they were, saying that he himself was the only man, he thinks, at the council- board that spoke his mind clearly, as he thought, to the good of the King; and the rest, who sat silent, have nothing said to them, nor are taken notice of. That the first time the King did take him so closely into his confidence and ministry of affairs was upon the business of Chatham, when all the disturbances were there, and in the kingdom; and then, while everybody was fancying for himself, the King did find him to persuade him to call for the Parliament, declaring that it was against his own proper interest, forasmuch as [it was] likely they would find faults with him, as well as with others, but that he would prefer the service of the King before his own: and, thereupon, the King did take him into his special notice, and, from that time to this, hath received him so; and that then he did see the folly and mistakes of the Chancellor in the management of things, and saw that matters were never likely to be done well in that sort of conduct, and did persuade the King to think fit of the taking away the seals from the Chancellor, which, when it was done, he told me that he himself, in his own particular, was sorry for it; for, while he stood, there was he and my Lord Arlington to stand between him and harm: whereas now there is only my Lord Arlington, and he is now down, so that all their fury is placed upon him but that he did tell the King, when he first moved it, that, if he thought the laying of him, W. Coventry, aside, would at all facilitate the removing of the Chancellor, he would most willingly submit to it, whereupon the King did command him to try the Duke of York about it, and persuade him to it, which he did, by the King’s command, undertake, and compass, and the Duke of York did own his consent to the King, but afterwards was brought to be of another mind for the Chancellor, and now is displeased with him, and [so is] the Duchesse, so that she will not see him; but he tells me the Duke of York seems pretty kind, and hath said that he do believe that W. Coventry did mean well, and do it only out of judgment. He tells me that he never was an intriguer in his life, nor will be, nor of any combination of persons to set up this, or fling down that, nor hath, in his own business, this Parliament, spoke to three members to say any thing for him, but will stand upon his own defence, and will stay by it, and thinks that he is armed against all they can [say], but the old business of selling places, and in that thinks they cannot hurt him. However, I do find him mighty willing to have his name used as little as he can, and he was glad when I did deliver him up a letter of his to me, which did give countenance to the discharging of men by ticket at Chatham, which is now coming in question; and wherein, I confess, I am sorry to find him so tender of appearing, it being a thing not only good and fit, all that was done in it, but promoted and advised by him. But he thinks the House is set upon wresting anything to his prejudice that they can pick up. He tells me he did never, as a great many have, call the Chancellor rogue and knave, and I know not what; but all that he hath said, and will stand by, is, that his counsels were not good, nor the manner of his managing of things. I suppose he means suffering the King to run in debt; for by and by the King walking in the parke, with a great crowd of his idle people about him, I took occasion to say that it was a sorry thing to be a poor King, and to have others to come to correct the faults of his own servants, and that this was it that brought us all into this condition. He answered that he would never be a poor King, and then the other would mend of itself. “No,” says he, “I would eat bread and drink water first, and this day discharge all the idle company about me, and walk only with two footmen; and this I have told the King, and this must do it at last.” I asked him how long the King would suffer this. He told me the King must suffer it yet longer, that he would not advise the King to do otherwise; for it would break out again worse, if he should break them up before the core be come up. After this, we fell to other talk, of my waiting upon him hereafter, it may be, to read a chapter in Seneca, in this new house, which he hath bought, and is making very fine, when we may be out of employment, which he seems to wish more than to fear, and I do believe him heartily. Thence home, and met news from Mr. Townsend of the Wardrobe that old Young, the yeoman taylor, whose place my Lord Sandwich promised my father, is dead. Upon which, resolving presently that my father shall not be troubled with it, but I hope I shall be able to enable him to end his days where he is, in quiet, I went forth thinking to tell Mrs. Ferrers (Captain Ferrers’s wife), who do expect it after my father, that she may look after it, but upon second thoughts forbore it, and so back again home, calling at the New Exchange, and there buying “The Indian Emperour,” newly printed, and so home to dinner, where I had Mr. Clerke, the sollicitor, and one of the Auditor’s clerks to discourse about the form of making up my accounts for the Exchequer, which did give me good satisfaction, and so after dinner, my wife, and Mercer, who grows fat, and Willett, and I, to the King’s house, and there saw “The Committee,” a play I like well, and so at night home and to the office, and so to my chamber about my accounts, and then to Sir W. Pen’s to speak with Sir John Chichly, who desired my advice about a prize which he hath begged of the King, and there had a great deal of his foolish talk of ladies and love and I know not what, and so home to supper and to bed.