Friday 17 January 1667/68

Up, and by coach to White Hall to attend the Council there, and here I met first by Mr. Castle the shipwright, whom I met there, and then from the whole house the discourse of the duell yesterday between the Duke of Buckingham, Holmes, and one Jenkins, on one side, and my Lord of Shrewsbury, Sir John Talbot, and one Bernard Howard, on the other side: and all about my Lady Shrewsbury,1 who is a whore, and is at this time, and hath for a great while been, a whore to the Duke of Buckingham. And so her husband challenged him, and they met yesterday in a close near Barne-Elmes, and there fought: and my Lord Shrewsbury is run through the body, from the right breast through the shoulder: and Sir John Talbot all along up one of his armes; and Jenkins killed upon the place, and the rest all, in a little measure, wounded. This will make the world think that the King hath good councillors about him, when the Duke of Buckingham, the greatest man about him, is a fellow of no more sobriety than to fight about a whore. And this may prove a very bad accident to the Duke of Buckingham, but that my Lady Castlemayne do rule all at this time as much as ever she did, and she will, it is believed, keep all matters well with the Duke of Buckingham: though this is a time that the King will be very backward, I suppose, to appear in such a business. And it is pretty to hear how the King had some notice of this challenge a week or two ago, and did give it to my Lord Generall to confine the Duke, or take security that he should not do any such thing as fight: and the Generall trusted to the King that he, sending for him, would do it, and the King trusted to the Generall; and so, between both, as everything else of the greatest moment do, do fall between two stools. The whole House full of nothing but the talk of this business; and it is said that my Lord Shrewsbury’s case is to be feared, that he may die too; and that may make it much the worse for the Duke of Buckingham: and I shall not be much sorry for it, that we may have some sober man come in his room to assist in the Government. Here I waited till the Council rose, and talked the while, with Creed, who tells me of Mr. Harry Howard’s giving the Royal Society a piece of ground next to his house, to build a College on, which is a most generous act. And he tells me he is a very fine person, and understands and speaks well; and no rigid Papist neither, but one that would not have a Protestant servant leave his religion, which he was going to do, thinking to recommend himself to his master by it; saying that he had rather have an honest Protestant than a knavish Catholique. I was not called into the Council; and, therefore, home, first informing myself that my Lord Hinchingbroke hath been married this week to my Lord Burlington’s daughter; so that that great business is over; and I mighty glad of it, though I am not satisfied that I have not a Favour sent me, as I see Attorney Montagu and the Vice-Chamberlain have. But I am mighty glad that the thing is done. So home, and there alone with my wife and Deb. to dinner, and after dinner comes Betty Turner, and I carried them to the New Exchange, and thence I to White Hall and did a little business at the Treasury, and so called them there, and so home and to cards and supper, and her mother come and sat at cards with us till past 12 at night, and then broke up and to bed, after entering my journall, which made it one before I went to bed.

  1. Anna Maria, daughter of Robert Brudenel, second Earl of Cardigan. Walpole says she held the Duke of Buckingham’s horse, in the habit of a page, while he was fighting the duel with her husband. She married, secondly, George Rodney Bridges, son of Sir Thomas Bridges of Keynsham, Somerset, Groom of the Bedchamber to Charles IL, and died April 20th, 1702. A portrait of the Countess of Shrewsbury, as Minerva, by Lely.

10 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

The King to Nicholas Cottoner [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolau_Cotoner ], Grand-Master of the Knights of Malta
Written from: Westminster
Date: 17 January 1668

Letters-recommendatory of Sir Thomas Allen [ http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/1204/ ], Commodore of a Squadron of His Majesty's ships, sent upon his service into the Mediterranean.

Latin.

http://www.rsl.ox.ac.uk/dept/scwmss/projects/ca...

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Thank God the war is over for the moment given the antics at Court.

No Favor for our Sam? Guess he didn't fork over that loan fast enough...

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Hmmn...Holmes on one side and 2 Talbots on the other? Sounds like these guys really meant to fight it out.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

The duel in Great Britain

"The duel arrived at the end of the sixteenth century with the influx of Italian honour and courtesy literature-most notably Castiglione's Libro del Cortegiano (Book of the Courtier) published 1528 and Girolamo Muzio's Il Duello published 1550. These stressed the need to protect one's reputation and social mask and prescribed the circumstances under which an insulted party should issue a challenge. Soon domestic literature was being produced such as Simon Robson's The Courte of Ciuill Courtesie published in 1577. Duelling was further propagated by the arrival of Italian fencing masters such as Rocco Bonetti and Vincento Saviolo. By the reign of James I duelling was well entrenched within a militarised peerage-one of the most important duels being that between Lord Bruce and the Earl of Dorset in 1613- during which Bruce was slain. James I encouraged Francis Bacon as Solicitor-General to prosecute would be duellists in the Court of Star Chamber where there were about 200 prosecutions between 1603 and 1625. He also issued an edict against duelling in 1614 and is believed to have supported production of an anti-duelling tract by the Earl of Northampton. Duelling however, continued to spread out from the court and notably into the army. In the mid-Seventheenth century it was for a time checked by the activities of the Parliamentarians whose Articles of War specified the death penalty for would be duellists. Nevertheless, duelling survived and increased markedly with the Restoration. Not least amongst the difficulties of anti-duelling campaigners was that although monarchs uniformly proclaimed their general hostility to duelling nevertheless they were very reluctant to see their own favourites punished."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duel#Great_Britain

Mary   Link to this

Duke of Buckingham and Lady Castlemaine.

Lest we forget, these two are cousins. both being Villiers.

PHE   Link to this

An amazing story. Yet again we see the value of Sam's 'jourmalism'. Given all the problems they had at the time, with limited health care, war and plague, its seems incredible that would play such silly games with their lives.

I suspect Sam was not the type of person to get himself into a duel.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Heaven...

"Mr. Samuel Pepys?"

"My Lady Shrewsbury? What an..."

"Here, sir. I act as my husband's second in this matter." Hands note. "The good news being over the last 400 years we've reconciled, Buckingham showing his true colors to me. The bad news being...We've read your Diary. Mrs. Pepys." bow to Bess, returned.

"I suppose it still hurts, even here?" Sam eyes Bess staring after the lady...Was she wearing pistols round her waist as well as carrying a sword as she knew how to use it?

"I think so, darling. But if she can second Talbot, I surely can back you up." eager nod.

"More and more I am convinced this is the Other Place." Sam sighs.

Glyn   Link to this

Is there ever any occasion on which Robert Holmes will not get involved in a fight, or make a peacable situation worse? Jumping off balconies while drunk, starting a fight with tough boatmen, fighting duels, seducing his friends' wives ... an exhausting chap to be around and about as different in temperament from Pepys as it would be possible to get.

Robert Gertz   Link to this


But so long as such as Holmes keep a safe distance from us and our boy...Endlessly entertaining. Sam has his own Saturday matinee with his very own Errol Flynn...

Just keep that safe distance, Sam.

Kevin Peter   Link to this

Glyn, I think you're confusing Robert Holmes with Captain Ferrers. As I recall it was Ferrers who jumped off the balcony while drunk (on a bet) and tried seducing people's wives.

Still, Holmes was definitely one who loved a good fight. While commanding his squadron of ships he attacked almost anyone on any pretext and was instrumental in angering the Dutch during his "privateering" prior to the Second Dutch War. I have no doubt that he loved to fight a good duel.

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