Friday 14 February 1667/68

(Valentine’s day). Up, being called up by Mercer, who come to be my Valentine, and so I rose and my wife, and were merry a little, I staying to talk, and did give her a guinny in gold for her Valentine’s gift. There comes also my cozen Roger Pepys betimes, and comes to my wife, for her to be his Valentine, whose Valentine I was also, by agreement to be so to her every year; and this year I find it is likely to cost 4l. or 5l. in a ring for her, which she desires. Cozen Roger did come also to speak with Sir W. Pen, who was quoted, it seems, yesterday by Sir Fr. Hollis to have said that if my Lord Sandwich had done so and so, we might have taken all the Dutch prizes at the time when he staid and let them go. But Sir W. Pen did tell us he should say nothing in it but what would do my Lord honour, and he is a knave I am able to prove if he do otherwise. He gone, I to my Office, to perfect my Narrative about prize-goods; and did carry it to the Commissioners of Accounts, who did receive it with great kindness, and express great value of, and respect to me: and my heart is at rest that it is lodged there, in so full truth and plainness, though it may hereafter prove some loss to me. But here I do see they are entered into many enquiries about prizes, by the great attendance of commanders and others before them, which is a work I am not sorry for. Thence I away, with my head busy, but my heart at pretty good ease, to the Old Exchange, and there met Mr. Houblon. I prayed him to discourse with some of the merchants that are of the Committee for Accounts, to see how they do resent my paper, and in general my particular in the relation to the business of the Navy, which he hath promised to do carefully for me and tell me. Here it was a mighty pretty sight to see old Mr. Houblon, whom I never saw before, and all his sons about him, all good merchants. Thence home to dinner, and had much discourse with W. Hewer about my going to visit Colonel Thomson, one of the Committee of Accounts, who, among the rest, is mighty kind to me, and is likely to mind our business more than any; and I would be glad to have a good understanding with him. Thence after dinner to White Hall, to attend the Duke of York, where I did let him know, too, the troublesome life we lead, and particularly myself, by being obliged to such attendances every day as I am, on one Committee or another. And I do find the Duke of York himself troubled, and willing not to be troubled with occasions of having his name used among the Parliament, though he himself do declare that he did give directions to Lord Brouncker to discharge the men at Chatham by ticket, and will own it, if the House call for it, but not else. Thence I attended the King and Council, and some of the rest of us, in a business to be heard about the value of a ship of one Dorrington’s:— and it was pretty to observe how Sir W. Pen making use of this argument against the validity of an oath, against the King, being made by the master’s mate of the ship, who was but a fellow of about 23 years of age — the master of the ship, against whom we pleaded, did say that he did think himself at that age capable of being master’s mate of any ship; and do know that he, himself, Sir W: Pen, was so himself, and in no better degree at that age himself: which word did strike Sir W. Pen dumb, and made him open his mouth no more; and I saw the King and Duke of York wink at one another at it. This done, we into the gallery; and there I walked with several people, and among others my Lord Brouncker, who I do find under much trouble still about the business of the tickets, his very case being brought in; as is said, this day in the Report of the Miscarriages. And he seems to lay much of it on me, which I did clear and satisfy him in; and would be glad with all my heart to serve him in, and have done it more than he hath done for himself, he not deserving the least blame, but commendations, for this. I met with my cozen Roger Pepys and Creed; and from them understand that the Report was read to-day of the Miscarriages, wherein my Lord Sandwich is [named] about the business I mentioned this morning; but I will be at rest, for it can do him no hurt. Our business of tickets is soundly up, and many others: so they went over them again, and spent all the morning on the first, which is the dividing of the fleete; wherein hot work was, and that among great men, Privy- Councillors, and, they say, Sir W. Coventry; but I do not much fear it, but do hope that it will shew a little, of the Duke of Albemarle and the Prince to have been advisers in it: but whereas they ordered that the King’s Speech should be considered today, they took no notice of it at all, but are really come to despise the King in all possible ways of chewing it. And it was the other day a strange saying, as I am told by my cozen Roger Pepys, in the House, when it was moved that the King’s speech should be considered, that though the first part of the Speech, meaning the league that is there talked of, be the only good publick thing that hath been done since the King come into England, yet it might bear with being put off to consider, till Friday next, which was this day. Secretary Morrice did this day in the House, when they talked of intelligence, say that he was allowed but 70l. a-year for intelligence, —[Secret service money]— whereas, in Cromwell’s time, he [Cromwell] did allow 70,000l. a-year for it; and was confirmed therein by Colonel Birch, who said that thereby Cromwell carried the secrets of all the princes of Europe at his girdle. The House is in a most broken condition; nobody adhering to any thing, but reviling and finding fault: and now quite mad at the Undertakers, as they are commonly called, Littleton, Lord Vaughan, Sir R. Howard, and others that are brought over to the Court, and did undertake to get the King money; but they despise, and would not hear them in the House; and the Court do do as much, seeing that they cannot be useful to them, as was expected. In short, it is plain that the King will never be able to do any thing with this Parliament; and that the only likely way to do better, for it cannot do worse, is to break this and call another Parliament; and some do think that it is intended. I was told to-night that my Lady Castlemayne is so great a gamester as to have won 5000l. in one night, and lost 25,000l. in another night, at play, and hath played 1000l. and 1500l. at a cast. Thence to the Temple, where at Porter’s chamber I met Captain Cocke, but lost our labour, our Counsellor not being within, Pemberton, and therefore home and late at my office, and so home to supper and to bed.

9 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

The value of intelligence as debated in Commons

[Sir Robert Brooke reports from the Committee, appointed to enquire into the miscarriages of the war, the state of the case as far as they had proceeded, contained in several papers in writing. The first paper related to the want of intelligence; which was read.]

Mr Marvell, reflecting on Lord Arlington, somewhat transportedly said] We have had Bristols and Cecils Secretaries, and by them knew the King of Spain's Junto, and letters of the Pope's cabinet; and now such a strange account of things! The money allowed for intelligence so small, the intelligence was accordingly— A libidinous desire in men, for places, makes them think themselves fit for them—The place of Secretary ill gotten, when bought with 10,000l. and a Barony—He was called to explain himself; but said, The thing was so plain, it needed it not.

Mr Vaughan.] Matters as little what the one (Marvell) says by way of exception against him, as the other (Birkenhead) by way of defence of him—Any man that understands English, knows what mis-event is, and the distinction is plain to any man that has conception.

Sir Robert Howard.] If it was not a weak counsel, it must be a treacherous one—Why the fleet was not stopped when the intelligence came, is the subject of our discourse.

Mr Coventry.] Intelligence is like health; we seldom or never have it perfect—Cromwell had intelligence of some gentlemen that were to surprize Plymouth; some were to be officers, and some to find money—The pretended informer gave him an account so exactly of the speeches of Lord Wilmot, the Chancellor, and Lord Ormond, that he could believe the intelligence no other than true—The person was catched and examined by Lord Ormond, confessed he was paid for his intelligence by reward in some sums of money, according to the merit of his intelligence, and so cozened Cromwell.

[It was resolved that the division of the fleet, in May 1666, was a miscarriage.]

http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?co...

Paul Chapin   Link to this

343 years later, it annoys me to hear that Castlemaine was gambling in the thousands - money undoubtedly from the public treasury, directly or indirectly - while the budget for intelligence was 70L. I can imagine how the people at the time must have felt. I'm surprised Sam doesn't connect the dots in the privacy of his diary.

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"Valentine's day"

"Valentine,martyr.Date unknown;f.d. 14 February.There was a church of St. Valentine built on the Flaminian Way at Rome in the middle of the fourth century.His supposed 'acts'seem to derive from those of SS. Marius and Martha,who with their sons Audifax and Abachum(f.d.19 January)were martyred in Rome but were said to be Persians;their burial place was on the Via Cornelia.It is likely tha St Valentine,a martyred bishop at Terni(Interamna)whose feast day is also on 14 February,is only a doublet of the Valentine above.There is nothing in either Valentine legend to account for the custom of choosing a partner of the opposite sex and sending 'valentines'on 14 February;it apparently arose from the old idea that birds begin to pair on that date,but it may have a more remote pagan reference."

Cf The Penguin Dictionary of Saints

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"Sir W. Pen...was quoted...to have said that if my Lord Sandwich had done so and so, we might have taken all the Dutch prizes at the time when he staid and let them go."

L&M note in September 1665 Clarendon had given a favorable account to parliament of Sandwich's handling of the fleet before the Texel, of the attack on Bergen, and of the capture of Dutch East India Company ships as prizes, though most of these had escaped capture due to tempests and had returned to Holland.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"the Report was read to-day of the Miscarriages, wherein my Lord Sandwich is [named] about the business I mentioned this morning;"

However, L&M note the Committee had in fact condemned Sandwich for quitting the fleet in early October, while the Dutch were on the English coasts, and NOT for the events of September mentioned above.

(Stick around long enough and fault will be found with something you did.)

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"The House is in ...now quite mad at the Undertakers, as they are commonly called, Littleton, Lord Vaughan, Sir R. Howard, and others that are brought over to the Court, and did undertake to get the King money;"

L&M note these named "Undertakers," Edward Seymour and Sir Richard Temple -- some of Buckingham's lieutenants in the Commons -- "undertook" management of a scheme, specifically had promised to get a grant of supply in return for office.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"my Lord Brouncker, who I do find under much trouble still about the business of the tickets, his very case being brought in; as is said, this day in the Report of the Miscarriages."

See Grey's Debates tomorrow's date for this
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?co...

nix   Link to this

"Mr Marvell, reflecting on Lord Arlington, somewhat transportedly said . . . ."

That would be Andrew Marvell, the poet, who served in Parliament from 1659 until his death in 1678. When I was in school, Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress" was a standard in any English poetry anthology.

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

"but whereas they ordered that the King’s Speech should be considered today, they took no notice of it at all, but are really come to despise the King in all possible ways of chewing it."

Gems like this keep me reading Sam

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