Monday 7 December 1668

Up by candlelight, the first time I have done so this winter, but I had lost my labour so often to visit Sir W. Coventry, and not visited him so long, that I was resolved to get time enough, and so up, and with W. Hewer, it being the first frosty day we have had this winter, did walk it very well to W. Coventry’s, and there alone with him an hour talking of the Navy, which he pities, but says he hath no more mind to be found meddling with the Navy, lest it should do it hurt, as well as him, to be found to meddle with it. So to talk of general things: and telling him that, with all these doings, he, I thanked God, stood yet; he told me, Yes, but that he thought his continuing in, did arise from his enemies my Lord of Buckingham and Arlington’s seeing that he cared so little if he was out; and he do protest to me that he is as weary of the Treasury, as ever he was of the Navy. He tells me that he do believe that their heat is over almost, as to the Navy, there being now none left of the old stock but my Lord Brouncker, J. Minnes, who is ready to leave the world, and myself. But he tells me that he do foresee very great wants and great disorders by reason thereof; insomuch, as he is represented to the King by his enemies as a melancholy man, and one that is still prophesying ill events, so as the King called him Visionaire, which being told him, he said he answered the party, that, whatever he foresaw, he was not afeard as to himself of any thing, nor particularly of my Lord Arlington, so much as the Duke of Buckingham hath been, nor of the Duke of Buckingham, so much as my Lord Arlington at this time is. But he tells me that he hath been always looked upon as a melancholy man; whereas, others that would please the King do make him believe that all is safe: and so he hath heard my Lord Chancellor openly say to the King, that he was now a glorious prince, and in a glorious condition, because of some one accident that hath happened, or some one rub that hath been removed; “when,” says W. Coventry, “they reckoned their one good meal, without considering that there was nothing left in the cup board for to-morrow.” After this and other discourse of this kind, I away, and walked to my Lord Sandwich’s, and walked with him to White Hall, and took a quarter of an hour’s walk in the garden with him, which I had not done for so much time with him since his coming into England; and talking of his own condition, and particularly of the world’s talk of his going to Tangier. I find, if his conditions can be made profitable and safe as to money, he would go, but not else; but, however, will seem not averse to it, because of facilitating his other accounts now depending, which he finds hard to get through, but yet hath some hopes, the King, he says, speaking very kindly to him. Thence to a Committee of Tangier, and so with W. Hewer to Westminster to Sir R. Longs office, and so to the Temple, but did nothing, the Auditor not being within, and so home to dinner, and after dinner out again with my wife to the Temple, and up and down to do a little business, and back again, and so to my office, and did a little business, and so home, and W. Hewer with me, to read and talk, and so to supper, and then to bed in mighty good humour. This afternoon, passing through Queen’s Street, I saw pass by our coach on foot Deb., which, God forgive me, did put me into some new thoughts of her, and for her, but durst not shew them, and I think my wife did not see her, but I did get my thoughts free of her soon as I could.

5 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"[Coventry] is represented to the King by his enemies as a melancholy man, and one that is still prophesying ill events, so as the King called him Visionaire"

L&M note next March Coventry will be satirized as "Sir Cautious Trouble-all" in a play (*The Country Gentleman*, co-written by Buckingham and Sir Robert Howard). See http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1669/03/06/

Carl in Boston   Link to this

Very satisfying read, one of the best in a long time.

languagehat   Link to this

Yes, a good entry, and that chance sighting of Deb is quite a kicker.

Mary   Link to this

The chance sighting of Deb.

This could be a problem that recurs as London is such a small city at this time, with even fewer passable streets at this date than there were before the fire of 1666. One is almost bound to trip over former friends/acquaintances/etc. from time to time.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

So Buckingham and Arlington don't really seem to be contemplating major changes in the Naval Office now that their commissioners are in place. Penn's problems seem more due to his illness and Sam's criticisms in the "great letter" while Minnes and Sam seem untouched by recent events. It's looking like their goal was to get Coventry (and thereby, Jamie weakened?) out and some kind of overlordship but not really a desire to turn things over...So far.

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