Friday 21 February 1667/68

At the office all the morning to get a little business done, I having, and so the whole office, been put out of doing any business there for this week by our trouble in attending the Parliament. Hither comes to me young Captain Beckford, the slopseller, and there presents me a little purse with gold in it, it being, as he told me, for his present to me, at the end of the last year. I told him I had not done him any service I knew of. He persisted, and I refused, but did at several denials; and telling him that it was not an age to take presents in, he told me he had reason to present me with something, and desired me to accept of it, which, at his so urging me, I did, and so fell to talk of his business, and so parted. I do not know of any manner of kindness I have done him this last year, nor did expect any thing. It was therefore very welcome to me, but yet I was not fully satisfied in my taking it, because of my submitting myself to the having it objected against me hereafter, and the rather because this morning Jacke Fen come and shewed me an order from the Commissioners of Accounts, wherein they demand of him an account upon oath of all the sums of money that have been by him defalked or taken from any man since their time, of enquiry upon any payments, and if this should, as it is to be feared, come to be done to us, I know not what I shall then do, but I shall take counsel upon it. At noon by coach towards Westminster, and met my Lord Brouncker, and W. Pen, and Sir T. Harvey, in King’s Street, coming away from the Parliament House; and so I to them, and to the French ordinary, at the Blue Balls, in Lincolne’s Inn Fields, and there dined and talked. And, among other things, they tell me how the House this day is still as backward for giving any money as ever, and do declare they will first have an account of the disposals of the last Poll-bill, and eleven months’ tax: and it is pretty odde that the very first sum mentioned in the account brought in by Sir Robert Long, of the disposal of the Poll-bill money, is 5000l. to my Lord Arlington for intelligence; which was mighty unseasonable, so soon after they had so much cried out against his want of intelligence. The King do also own but 250,000l., or thereabouts, yet paid on the Poll- bill, and that he hath charged 350,000l. upon it. This makes them mad; for that the former Poll-bill, that was so much less in its extent than the last, which took in all sexes and qualities, did come to 350,000l.. Upon the whole, I perceive they are like to do nothing in this matter to please the King, or relieve the State, be the case never so pressing; and, therefore, it is thought by a great many that the King cannot be worse if he should dissolve them: but there is nobody dares advise it, nor do he consider any thing himself. Thence, having dined for 20s., we to the Duke of York at White Hall, and there had our usual audience, and did little but talk of the proceedings of the Parliament, wherein he is as much troubled as we; for he is not without fears that they do ayme at doing him hurt; but yet he declares that he will never deny to owne what orders he hath given to any man to justify him, notwithstanding their having sent to him to desire his being tender to take upon him the doing any thing of that kind. Thence with Brouncker and T. Harvey to Westminster Hall, and there met with Colonel Birch and Sir John Lowther, and did there in the lobby read over what I have drawn up for our defence, wherein they own themselves mightily satisfied; and Birch, like a particular friend, do take it upon him to defend us, and do mightily do me right in all his discourse. Here walked in the Hall with him a great while, and discoursed with several members, to prepare them in our business against to-morrow, and meeting my cozen Roger Pepys, he showed me Granger’s written confession,1 of his being forced by imprisonment, &c., by my Lord Gerard, most barbarously to confess his forging of a deed in behalf of Fitton, in the great case between him [Fitton] and my Lord Gerard; which business is under examination, and is the foulest against my Lord Gerard that ever any thing in the world was, and will, all do believe, ruine him; and I shall be glad of it. Thence with Lord Brouncker and T. Harvey as far as the New Exchange, and there at a draper’s shop drawing up a short note of what they are to desire of the House for our having a hearing before they determine any thing against us, which paper is for them to show to what friends they meet against to-morrow, I away home to the office, and there busy pretty late, and here comes my wife to me, who hath been at Pegg Pen’s christening, which, she says, hath made a flutter and noise; but was as mean as could be, and but little company, just like all the rest that that family do. So home to supper and to bed, with my head full of a defence before the Parliament tomorrow, and therein content myself very well, and with what I have done in preparing some of the members thereof in order thereto.

  1. Pepys here refers to the extraordinary proceedings which occurred between Charles, Lord Gerard, and Alexander Fitton, of which a narrative was published at the Hague in 1665. Granger was a witness in the cause, and was afterwards said to be conscience-stricken from his perjury. Some notice of this case will be found in North’s “Examen,” p. 558; but the copious and interesting note in Ormerod’s “History of Cheshire,” Vol. iii., p. 291, will best satisfy the reader, who will not fail to be struck by the paragraph with which it is closed-viz., “It is not improbable that Alexander Fitton, who, in the first instance, gained rightful possession of Gawsworth under an acknowledged settlement, was driven headlong into unpremeditated guilt by the production of a revocation by will which Lord Gerard had so long concealed. Having lost his own fortune in the prosecution of his claims, he remained in gaol till taken out by James II. to be made Chancellor of Ireland (under which character Hume first notices him), was knighted, and subsequently created Lord Gawsworth after the abdication of James, sat in his parliament in Dublin in 1689, and then is supposed to have accompanied his fallen master to France. Whether the conduct of Fitton was met, as he alleges, by similar guilt on the part of Lord Gerard, God only can judge; but his hand fell heavily on the representatives of that noble house. In less than half a century the husbands of its two co-heiresses, James, Duke of Hamilton, and Charles, Lord Mohun, were slain by each other’s hands in a murderous duel arising out of a dispute relative to the partition of the Fitton estates, and Gawsworth itself passed to an unlineal hand, by a series of alienations complicated beyond example in the annals of this country.” — B.

7 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"Granger’s written confession,1 of his being forced by imprisonment, &c., by my Lord Gerard, most barbarously to confess his forging of a deed in behalf of Fitton, in the great case between him [Fitton] and my Lord Gerard"

The issue is greatly clarified by Paul Chapin's terrific annotation of Abraham Gowrie Granger http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/7166/#c8... that includes a link that chronicles The Battle for the Gawsworth estate http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=172...

Sir Charles Gerard was , of course, he who had demanded Mr. Carr be put in the stocks for, in effct, challenging the privelege of the peers http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scandalum_magnatum...

Mary   Link to this

"and there at a draper’s shop drawing up a short note of what they are to desire of the House"

An engaging little vignette. You just drop into a draper's, ask for pen and paper and use the counter to make notes for yourself. I can't see that working in many modern shopping centres.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Beckford sounds a little too eager to me. I'd beware, Sam. A slopseller might make a fine Parliament informer, particularly if he's young and a tad idealistic as to how the government should be run.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Beckford

A real operator. L&M note the purse contained 50 guineas. On 6 March he sent Pepys a petition on behalf of all victualing contractors desiring payment. Some years later (ca. 1676) Beckford was accused of delivering "tobacco, brandy and other things under the name of clothes"...

nix   Link to this

Beckford --

Pat him down, Samuel -- he might be wearing a wire!

Australian Susan   Link to this

Re - making use of shops: my grandmother and great-aunt in the 1950's used to go on weekly shopping and lunch trips. They arranged for their regular taxi driver to pick them up at the Westminster Bank to drive them home. My mother, having learnt of this arrangement, said - "But you don't bank at the Westminster?" "No dear," was the reply, "but they have most comfortable armchairs in their waiting area."

Glyn   Link to this

"Slopseller": a dealer in ready-made or cheap clothing; "slop": baggy trousers, especially as worn by sailors - Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.

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