Friday 15 November 1667

Up, and to Alderman Backewell’s and there discoursed with him about the remitting of this 6000l. to Tangier, which he hath promised to do by the first post, and that will be by Monday next, the 18th, and he and I agreed that I would take notice of it that so he may be found to have done his best upon the desire of the Lords Commissioners. From this we went to discourse of his condition, and he with some vain glory told me that the business of Sheernesse did make him quite mad, and indeed might well have undone him; but yet that he did the very next day pay here and got bills to answer his promise to the King for the Swedes Embassadors (who were then doing our business at the treaty at Breda) 7000l., and did promise the Bankers there, that if they would draw upon him all that he had of theirs and 10,000l. more, he would answer it. He told me that Serjeant Maynard come to him for a sum of money that he had in his hands of his, and so did many others, and his answer was, What countrymen are you? And when they told him, why then, says he, here is a tally upon the Receiver of your country for so [much], and to yours for so much, and did offer to lay by tallies to the full value of all that he owed in the world, and 40,000l. more for the security thereof, and not to touch a penny of his own till the full of what he owed was paid, which so pleased every body that he hath mastered all, so that he hath lent the Commissioners of the Treasury above 40,000l. in money since that business, and did this morning offer to a lady who come to give him notice that she should need her money 3000l., in twenty days, he bid her if she pleased send for it to-day and she should have it. Which is a very great thing, and will make them greater than ever they were, I am apt to think, in some time. Thence to Westminster, and there I walked with several, and do hear that there is to be a conference between the two Houses today; so I stayed: and it was only to tell the Commons that the Lords cannot agree to the confining or sequestring of the Earle of Clarendon from the Parliament, forasmuch as they do not specify any particular crime which they lay upon him and call Treason. This the House did receive, and so parted: at which, I hear, the Commons are like to grow very high, and will insist upon their privileges, and the Lords will own theirs, though the Duke of Buckingham, Bristoll, and others, have been very high in the House of Lords to have had him committed. This is likely to breed ill blood. Thence I away home, calling at my mercer’s and tailor’s, and there find, as I expected, Mr. Caesar and little Pelham Humphreys, lately returned from France, and is an absolute Monsieur, as full of form, and confidence, and vanity, and disparages everything, and everybody’s skill but his own. The truth is, every body says he is very able, but to hear how he laughs at all the King’s musick here, as Blagrave and others, that they cannot keep time nor tune, nor understand anything; and that Grebus, the Frenchman, the King’s master of the musick, how he understands nothing, nor can play on any instrument, and so cannot compose: and that he will give him a lift out of his place; and that he and the King are mighty great! and that he hath already spoke to the King of Grebus would make a man piss. I had a good dinner for them, as a venison pasty and some fowl, and after dinner we did play, he on the theorbo. Mr. Caesar on his French lute, and I on the viol, but made but mean musique, nor do I see that this Frenchman do so much wonders on the theorbo, but without question he is a good musician, but his vanity do offend me. They gone, towards night, I to the office awhile, and then home and to my chamber, where busy till by and by comes Mr. Moore, and he staid and supped and talked with me about many things, and tells me his great fear that all things will go to ruin among us, for that the King hath, as he says Sir Thomas Crew told him, been heard to say that the quarrel is not between my Lord Chancellor and him, but his brother and him; which will make sad work among us if that be once promoted, as to be sure it will, Buckingham and Bristoll being now the only counsel the King follows, so as Arlington and Coventry are come to signify little. He tells me they are likely to fall upon my Lord Sandwich; but, for my part, sometimes I am apt to think they cannot do him much harm, he telling me that there is no great fear of the business of Resumption! By and by, I got him to read part of my Lord Cooke’s chapter of treason, which is mighty well worth reading, and do inform me in many things, and for aught I see it is useful now to know what these crimes are. And then to supper, and after supper he went away, and so I got the girl to comb my head, and then to bed, my eyes bad. This day, Poundy, the waterman, was with me, to let me know that he was summonsed to bear witness against me to Prince Rupert’s people (who have a commission to look after the business of prize-goods) about the business of the prize-goods I was concerned in: but I did desire him to speak all he knew, and not to spare me, nor did promise nor give him any thing, but sent him away with good words, to bid him say all he knew to be true. This do not trouble me much.

13 Annotations

nix  •  Link

"little Pelham Humphreys" --

From Grove's Music Online:

"Humfrey [Humphrey, Humphrys], Pelham
(b 1647/8; d Windsor, 14 July 1674). English composer. The most precocious of the brilliant first generation of choristers at the Chapel Royal after the Restoration, he spent the whole of his short adult life in its service. He had neither interest in nor aptitude for the old polyphonic style; instead he developed a distinctively English Baroque idiom, enriched by progressive French and Italian techniques, yet founded on the inflections of his native language, and far outstripping the experimental efforts of any earlier English composer both in consistency of approach and in technical fluency."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"And then to supper, and after supper he went away, and so I got the girl to comb my head..."

The Road to Perdition...

tg  •  Link

"and little Pelham Humphreys, lately returned from France, and is an absolute Monsieur, as full of form, and confidence, and vanity, and disparages everything, and everybody’s skill but his own."
I remember Sam commenting on the Spanish character a while ago, the passionate lover of justice, and now we get the French character, the haughty vain know it all.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"my Lord Cooke’s chapter of treason"

That would be *The third part of the Institutes of the Laws of England: Concerning High Treason, and Other Pleas of the Crown, and Criminal Causes* by Sir Edward Coke

andy  •  Link

and that he hath already spoke to the King of Grebus would make a man piss

love the phrasing on this one. I can almost hear Sam lowering his voice and telling me this across a table in a bar somewhere.

language hat  •  Link

Some difficult matter here. A couple of questions:

1) Can anyone explain "did promise the Bankers there, that if they would draw upon him all that he had of theirs and 10,000l. more, he would answer it" for those of us whose grasp of finance barely extends to balancing our checkbook?

2) What is "the business of Resumption"?

Terry Foreman  •  Link

lh, as to 2), L&M explain that one of the charges against Clarendon was that he had acquired royal lands for himself and his friends to the king's disadvantage. An act was now proposed to resume (reassume, recover) the purportedly alienated land, but nothing ever came of it.

The same kind of issue will be raised against Sandwich.

nix  •  Link

LH -- As to #1, I understand it to be Backwell reassuring his correpondent banks of his solvency. Banks carry offsetting balances against each other. Backwell says that if they want him to settle up, he is able able to pay not only what he owes them on their books (net of what they owe him), but as much as L10,000 more. Of course, he is praying that they don't!

cum salis grano  •  Link

Bankers then unlike now loan money out and retain a bigger percentage. It was a much more physical concept, not a game of monopoly. 'Tis why there is so much fun finding all those physical items of hi value, lost on ships taking funds to balance the books of trade..

Some people accumulate wealth and others dispose of it on non productive items.

Credit or he believes is concept of faith that one will get paid.
[Credit -He believes or has faith that I can pay back]

Debasement of coinage was a factor at this time, along with the seeds of founding of the great state of Penn, due the King spending money on the wrong items and trying to find ways to meet his obligations.

The question is what is money? barter is simple but thy neighbour has what you want but you have nothing he wants, how do you get this item thee need? to receive this item that you must have, you must give him something that everybody could use and trust, gold/silver.

When you borrow, what can not be payed back, you then end up in the fleet, except a country cannot do that, so default and tell the world to fly a kite [revalue your paper]], its the usual solution.

[ a good read is "Ascent of Money" a financial history of the world, a subject that is ignored as money is evil.
it is by Niall Ferguson]
Samuel reveals some insight into the problems that face this period, on the local level, With our 20/20 hindsight we can get a smattering of the future, if only we can understand. History is in the air, but the historians will not talk about that evil, interest, it is devil's playbook.
Tickets, taxes, letters of credit, tax collectors [farmers], feeding the troops , pay for the wine and other imports, masts etc., just a byline in History, not as much fun as reading about Palmer and her mink stole while the Tars get short changed cashing in their checks [tickets, IOU's, script,tokens ] at the local shop as they are not members of a bank. Samuel can keep his money at the different bankers, in boxes, sacks in the ground, because of the lack of belief [credit or creditor {he shall believe?}] in the time.

language hat  •  Link

Thanks, all! My understanding has been vastly enhanced.

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