Friday 28 August 1668
Busy at the office till toward 10 o’clock, and then by water to White Hall, where attending the Council’s call all the morning with Lord Brouncker, W. Pen, and the rest, about the business of supernumeraries in the fleete, but were not called in. But here the Duke of York did call me aside, and told me that he must speak with me in the afternoon, with Mr. Wren, for that now he hath got the paper from my Lord Keeper about the exceptions taken against the management of the Navy; and so we are to debate upon answering them. At noon I home with W. Coventry to his house; and there dined with him, and talked freely with him; and did acquaint him with what I have done, which he is well pleased with, and glad of: and do tell me that there are endeavours on foot to bring the Navy into new, but, he fears, worse hands. After much talk with great content with him, I walked to the Temple, and staid at Starky’s, my bookseller’s (looking over Dr. Heylin’s new book of the Life of Bishop Laud, a strange book of the Church History of his time), till Mr. Wren comes, and by appointment we to the Atturney General’s chamber, and there read and heard the witnesses in the business of Ackeworth, most troublesome and perplexed by the counter swearing of the witnesses one against the other, and so with Mr. Wren away thence to St. [James’s] for his papers, and so to White Hall, and after the Committee was done at the Council chamber about the business of Supernumeraries, wherein W. Pen was to do all and did, but like an ignorant illiterate coxcomb, the Duke of York fell to work with us, the Committee being gone, in the Council- chamber; and there, with his own hand, did give us his long letter, telling us that he had received several from us, and now did give us one from him, taking notice of our several duties and failures, and desired answer to it, as he therein desired; this pleased me well; and so fell to other business, and then parted. And the Duke of York, and Wren, and I, it being now candle-light, into the Duke of York’s closet in White Hall; and there read over this paper of my Lord Keeper’s, wherein are laid down the faults of the Navy, so silly, and the remedies so ridiculous, or else the same that are now already provided, that we thought it not to need any answer, the Duke of York being able himself to do it: that so it makes us admire the confidence of these men to offer things so silly, in a business of such moment. But it is a most perfect instance of the complexion of the times! and so the Duke of York said himself, who, I perceive, is mightily concerned in it, and do, again and again, recommend it to Mr. Wren and me together, to consider upon remedies fit to provide for him to propound to the King, before the rest of the world, and particularly the Commissioners of Accounts, who are men of understanding and order, to find our faults, and offer remedies of their own, which I am glad of, and will endeavour to do something in it. So parted, and with much difficulty, by candle-light, walked over the Matted Gallery, as it is now with the mats and boards all taken up, so that we walked over the rafters. But strange to see what hard matter the plaister of Paris is, that is there taken up, as hard as stone! And pity to see Holben’s work in the ceiling blotted on, and only whited over! Thence; with much ado, by several coaches home, to supper and to bed. My wife having been this day with Hales, to sit for her hand to be mended, in her picture.