Sunday 17 November 1667

(Lord’s day). Up, and to church with my wife. A dull sermon of Mr. Mills, and then home, without strangers to dinner, and then my wife to read, and I to the office, enter my journall to this day, and so home with great content that it is done, but with sorrow to my eyes. Then home, and got my wife to read to me out of Fuller’s Church History, when by and by comes Captain Cocke, who sat with me all the evening, talking, and I find by him, as by all others, that we are like to expect great confusions, and most of our discourse was the same, and did agree with that the last night, particularly that about the difference between the King and the Duke of York which is like to be. He tells me that he hears that Sir W. Coventry was, a little before the Duke of York fell sick, with the Duke of York in his closet, and fell on his knees, and begged his pardon for what he hath done to my Lord Chancellor; but this I dare not soon believe. But he tells me another thing, which he says he had from the person himself who spoke with the Duke of Buckingham, who, he says, is a very sober and worthy man, that he did lately speak with the Duke of Buckingham about his greatness now with the King, and told him- “But, sir, these things that the King do now, in suffering the Parliament to do all this, you know are not fit for the King to suffer, and you know how often you have said to me that the King was a weak man, and unable to govern, but to be governed, and that you could command him as you listed; why do you suffer him to go on in these things?” — “Why,” says the Duke of Buckingham, “I do suffer him to do this, that I may hereafter the better command him.” This he swears to me the person himself to whom the Duke of Buckingham said this did tell it him, and is a man of worth, understanding, and credit. He told me one odd passage by the Duke of Albemarle, speaking how hasty a man he is, and how for certain he would have killed Sir W. Coventry, had he met him in a little time after his shewing his letter in the House. He told me that a certain lady, whom he knows, did tell him that, she being certainly informed that some of the Duke of Albemarle’s family did say that the Earl of Torrington was a bastard, [she] did think herself concerned to tell the Duke of Albemarle of it, and did first tell the Duchesse, and was going to tell the old man, when the Duchesse pulled her back by the sleeve, and hindered her, swearing to her that if he should hear it, he would certainly kill the servant that should be found to have said it, and therefore prayed her to hold her peace. One thing more he told me, which is, that Garraway is come to town, and is thinking how to bring the House to mind the public state of the nation and to put off these particular piques against man and man, and that he propounding this to Sir W. Coventry, Sir W. Coventry did give no encouragement to it: which he says is that by their running after other men he may escape. But I do believe this is not true neither. But however I am glad that Garraway is here, and that he do begin to think of the public condition in reference to our neighbours that we are in, and in reference to ourselves, whereof I am mightily afeard of trouble. So to supper, and he gone and we to bed.

10 Annotations

Michael L   Link to this

Captain Cocke is quite the Rumor Central, isn't he? Perhaps the next thing he'll say is that he hears that the King was actually born in Kenya, and is therefore ineligible to be Sovereign.

Jesse   Link to this

"that I may hereafter the better command him"

You know, I could almost believe it if the DoB (that "very sober and worthy man") wasn't such a wild card.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"He told me one odd passage by the Duke of Albemarle, speaking how hasty a man he is, and how for certain he would have killed Sir W. Coventry, had he met him in a little time after his shewing his letter in the House."

Somehow Ablemarle has never struck me as a man of exactly "hot temper". As for killing Will Coventry...Well, I suppose as a soldier he might be capable of it but I'd have my doubts. I picture Sir William deftly dodging Monck's slow-moving blows while delivering shrewd but veiled verbal thrusts...Sort of like watching Charles Laughton fighting or trying to fight some clever hero type.

Of course none of this ridiculous flailing is contributing to solving England's woes...Though it puts Charles in a slightly better light showing the tools he gets to work with.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"some of the Duke of Albemarle’s family did say that the Earl of Torrington was a bastard"

He was not, really. L&M note he had been born in wedlock, but his mother's first husband was said to have been alive at the time. See mark francis' annotation of Anne Monck http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/958/#c28... Torrington succeeded to the dukedom in 1670, but after the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the bastardy allegations revived.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

A link to a more complete tale of Anne Clarges Ratford Monck was provided by Sjoerd

http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/958/#c10...

Michael L   Link to this

It's interesting to see how much of the "news" back then is really no better than rumor. Some of the rumor is true (our fleet is just now engaging the Dutch), much is half-true (our fleet fought the Dutch and beat them soundly), and much is sheer nonsense (the Papists are burning the city and will murder us in our beds next week). It must have been very difficult to really understand what was going on in the world, even for someone in Pepys' elevated position in the government.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Sounds like the accuracy of "news" hasn't changed all that much, perhaps just the number of sources. Kudos to Sam for usually being able to get the correct info after a period of sorting through various sources, though naturally his inclinations and imbibed prejudices would lead him to tend to accept the Papist madmen rumors...Though his skeptical and tolerant spirit usually makes him question even that.

classicist   Link to this

'another thing, which he says he had from the person himself who spoke with the Duke of Buckingham, who, he says, is a very worthy and sober man . . .' I read the 'very worthy and sober man' as being the man who reported this, not the DoB,who Dryden agreed was a wild card:
'Stiff in Opinions, always in the wrong;
Was every thing by starts, and nothing long:
But, in the course of one revolving Moon,
Was Chymist, Fidler, States-Man, and Buffoon.'

Jesse   Link to this

"sober and worthy man"

I reread this a couple times last night because I couldn't believe it. But I still guessed that it was the anonymous person who spoke w/the DoB who thought him (DoB) sober and worthy. This morning I'm not as convinced. On the other hand it's possible that because the DoB could come off as sober and worthy that he was able to camouflage his, um, eccentricities.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"He told me one odd passage by the Duke of Albemarle, speaking how hasty a man he is, and how for certain he would have killed Sir W. Coventry, had he met him in a little time after his shewing his letter in the House."

20 October: "for aught I see, there is bloody work like to be, Sir W. Coventry having been forced to produce a letter in Parliament wherein the Duke of Albemarle did from Sheernesse write in what good posture all things were at Chatham, and that the chain was so well placed that he feared no attempt of the enemy;" http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1667/10/20/

The letter was addressed to the King.

I took Albemarle -- remember this is George Monck, an all-purpose thug -- plausibly accused of saying "for certain he would have killed Sir W. Coventry, had he met him in a little time after his shewing his letter in the House" to be saying in effect he wished he'd met W. Coventry in a dark alley after the S.O.B. had blown his defense against those who'd accuse him of complacency.

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