Friday 27 December 1667

Up, and by water to White Hall, and there walked with Creed in the Matted gallery till by and by a Committee for Tangier met: the Duke of York there; and there I did discourse over to them their condition as to money, which they were all mightily, as I could desire, satisfied with, but the Duke of Albemarle, who takes the part of the Guards against us in our supplies of money, which is an odd consideration for a dull, heavy blockhead as he is, understanding no more of either than a goose: but the ability and integrity of Sir W. Coventry, in all the King’s concernments, I do and must admire. After the Committee up, I and Sir W. Coventry walked an hour in the gallery, talking over many businesses, and he tells me that there are so many things concur to make him and his Fellow Commissioners unable to go through the King’s work that he do despair of it, every body becoming an enemy to them in their retrenchments, and the King unstable, the debts great and the King’s present occasions for money great and many and pressing, the bankers broke and every body keeping in their money, while the times are doubtful what will stand. But he says had they come in two years ago they doubt not to have done what the King would by this time, or were the King in the condition as heretofore, when the Chancellor was great, to be able to have what sums of money they pleased of the Parliament, and then the ill administration was such that instead of making good use of this power and money he suffered all to go to ruin. But one such sum now would put all upon their legs, and now the King would have the Parliament give him money when they are in an ill humour and will not be willing to give any, nor are very able, and besides every body distrusts what they give the King will be lost; whereas six months hence, when they see that the King can live without them, and is become steady, and to manage what he has well, he doubts not but their doubts would be removed, and would be much more free as well as more able to give him money. He told me how some of his enemies at the Duke of York’s had got the Duke of York’s commission for the Commissioners of his estate changed, and he and Brouncker and Povy left out: that this they did do to disgrace and impose upon him at this time; but that he, though he values not the thing, did go and tell the Duke of York what he heard, and that he did not think that he had given him any reason to do this, out of his belief that he would not be as faithful and serviceable to him as the best of those that have got him put out. Whereupon the Duke of York did say that it arose only from his not knowing whether now he would have time to regard his affairs; and that, if he should, he would put him into the commission with his own hand, though the commission be passed. He answered that he had been faithful to him, and done him good service therein, so long as he could attend it; and if he had been able to have attended it more, he would not have enriched himself with such and such estates as my Lord Chancellor hath got, that did properly belong to his Royal Highness, as being forfeited to the King, and so by the King’s gift given to the Duke of York. Hereupon the Duke of York did call for the commission, and hath since put him in. This he tells me he did only to show his enemies that he is not so low as to be trod on by them, or the Duke hath any so bad opinion of him as they would think. Here we parted, and I with Sir H. Cholmly went and took a turn into the Park, and there talked of several things, and about Tangier particularly, and of his management of his business, and among other discourse about the method he will leave his accounts in if he should suddenly die, he says there is nothing but what is easily understood, but only a sum of 500l. which he has entered given to E. E. S., which in great confidence he do discover to me to be my Lord Sandwich, at the beginning of their contract for the Mole, and I suppose the rest did the like, which was 1500l., which would appear a very odd thing for my Lord to be a profiter by the getting of the contract made for them. But here it puts me into thoughts how I shall own my receiving of 200l. a year from him, but it is his gift, I never asked of him, and which he did to Mr. Povy, and so there is no great matter in it. Thence to other talk. He tells me that the business of getting the Duchess of Richmond to Court is broke off, the Duke not suffering it; and thereby great trouble is brought among the people that endeavoured it, and thought they had compassed it. And, Lord! to think that at this time the King should mind no other cares but these! He tells me that my Lord of Canterbury is a mighty stout man, and a man of a brave, high spirit, and cares not for this disfavour that he is under at Court, knowing that the King cannot take away his profits during his life, and therefore do not value it.1 Thence I home, and there to my office and wrote a letter to the Duke of York from myself about my clerks extraordinary, which I have employed this war, to prevent my being obliged to answer for what others do without any reason demand allowance for, and so by this means I will be accountable for none but my own, and they shall not have them but upon the same terms that I have, which is a profession that with these helps they will answer to their having performed their duties of their places. So to dinner, and then away by coach to the Temple, and then for speed by water thence to White Hall, and there to our usual attending the Duke of York, and did attend him, where among other things I did present and lodge my letter, and did speed in it as I could wish. Thence home with Sir W. Pen and Comm. Middleton by coach, and there home and to cards with my wife, W. Hewer, Mercer, and the girle, and mighty pleasant all the evening, and so to bed with my wife, which I have not done since her being ill for three weeks or thereabouts.

  1. This character of Archbishop Sheldon does not tally with the scandal that Pepys previously reported of him. Burnet has some passages of importance on this in his “Own Time,” Book II. He affirms that Charles’s final decision to throw over Clarendon was caused by the Chancellor’s favouring Mrs. Stewart’s marriage with the Duke of Richmond. The king had a conference with Sheldon on the removal of Clarendon, but could not convert the archbishop to his view. Lauderdale told Burnet that he had an account of the interview from the king. “The king and Sheldon had gone into such expostulations upon it that from that day forward Sheldon could never recover the king’s confidence.”

10 Annotations

Paul Chapin   Link to this

"wrote a letter to the Duke of York from myself about my clerks extraordinary, which I have employed this war, to prevent my being obliged to answer for what others do without any reason demand allowance for, and so by this means I will be accountable for none but my own, and they shall not have them but upon the same terms that I have, which is a profession that with these helps they will answer to their having performed their duties of their places."

Having puzzled over this passage, I THINK Sam is saying that when the predators start picking apart the Navy office, he will accept responsibility for the actions of his own clerks but no others, and that if his clerks are questioned, they can talk about their official duties but not other matters. Do others have more or less the same interpretation, or am I missing something?

Australian Susan   Link to this

I read this as pertaining to the Dutch War just passed and that Sam wanted to get his demands for extra allowances for his either extra clerks or extra clerkly duties during this period in for claiming asap, so if others put in wildly exaggerated claims, Sam can point to his dated letter and say just what he was claiming for, at what time and for whom and others claiming ( e.g. Pen?) will have to fall into line. I think Sam is trying to protect the Navy Office from being seen as a Government Department making outrageous expenses claims. He does, however, want to get what he justly deserves and not have his legitimate claims thrown out with the wild ones. Just another example of Sam's skills as an administrator and his political nous.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Interesting about the 200Ls per year from Coventry. Is that the first acknowledgement of it?

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

Robert, I think the 200£ per year is from Sir Hugh Cholmly...?

JWB   Link to this

Mum's the word:

"This day (to see how things are ordered in the world), I had a command from the Earle of Sandwich, at Portsmouth, not to be forward with Mr. Cholmly and Sir J. Lawson about the Mole at Tangier, because that what I do therein will (because of his friendship to me known) redound against him, as if I had done it upon his score." http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1664/12/12/

Horace Dripple   Link to this

Paul, my interpretation of that passage is the same as yours.

Carl in Boston   Link to this

What a huge passage to write, even using shorthand, and all by candle light. No wonder he nearly went blind.

djc   Link to this

to prevent my being obliged to answer for what others do without any reason demand allowance for, and so by this means I will be accountable for none but my own

I take it to mean that he has employed some extra clerks to cope with the workload, and wishes to make clear that these are legitimate claims for work actually done. Unlike some others who have claimed for extra staff but pocketed the expenses.

cum salis grano   Link to this

DJC: You appear to be spot on, padding the books with names was a good investment, income 1, out go zero, pocket 1.
Where there be money, it be like honey, it has a habit of sticking, and still has that habit, Enron anyone.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Right, read too fast, thanks.

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