Saturday 6 March 1668/69

Up, and to the office, where all the morning, only before the Office I stepped to Sir W. Coventry at the Tower, and there had a great deal of discourse with him; among others, of the King’s putting him out of the Council yesterday, with which he is well contented, as with what else they can strip him of, he telling me, and so hath long done, that he is weary and surfeited of business; but he joins with me in his fears that all will go to naught, as matters are now managed. He told me the matter of the play that was intended for his abuse, wherein they foolishly and sillily bring in two tables like that which he hath made, with a round hole in the middle, in his closet, to turn himself in; and he is to be in one of them as master, and Sir J. Duncomb in the other, as his man or imitator: and their discourse in those tables, about the disposing of their books and papers, very foolish. But that, that he is offended with, is his being made so contemptible, as that any should dare to make a gentleman a subject for the mirth of the world: and that therefore he had told Tom Killigrew that he should tell his actors, whoever they were, that did offer at any thing like representing him, that he would not complain to my Lord Chamberlain, which was too weak, nor get him beaten, as Sir Charles Sidly is said to do, but that he would cause his nose to be cut. He told me the passage at the Council much like what my Lord Bellassis told me. He told me how that the Duke of Buckingham did himself, some time since, desire to join with him, of all men in England, and did bid him propound to himself to be Chief Minister of State, saying that he would bring it about, but that he refused to have anything to do with any faction; and that the Duke of Buckingham did, within these few days, say that, of all men in England, he would have chosen W. Coventry to have joined entire with. He tells me that he fears their prevailing against the Duke of York; and that their violence will force them to it, as being already beyond his pardon. He repeated to me many examples of challenging of Privy-Councillors and others; but never any proceeded against with that severity which he is, it never amounting to others to more than a little confinement. He tells me of his being weary of the Treasury, and of the folly, ambition, and desire of popularity of Sir Thomas Clifford; and yet the rudeness of his tongue and passions when angry. This and much more discourse being over I with great pleasure come home and to the office, where all the morning, and at noon home to dinner, and thence to the office again, where very hard at work all the afternoon till night, and then home to my wife to read to me, and to bed, my cold having been now almost for three days quite gone from me. This day my wife made it appear to me that my late entertainment this week cost me above 12l., an expence which I am almost ashamed of, though it is but once in a great while, and is the end for which, in the most part, we live, to have such a merry day once or twice in a man’s life.

8 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Ossory to Ormond
Written from: [Dublin]
Date: 6 March 1669

Encloses the subjoined papers as shewing the whole debt of the kingdom, and what may be expected towards satisfying it. If the Duke approves, they may be presented to Lord Robartes [ new Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland and Lord Privy Seal ] in the writer's name. ...

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

Tony Eldridge   Link to this

"my late entertainment this week cost me above 12l., an expence which I am almost ashamed of, though it is but once in a great while, and is the end for which, in the most part, we live, to have such a merry day once or twice in a man’s life."

An excellent philosophy, Sam. Especially in such dangerous times as then - or now.

JKM   Link to this

"wherein they foolishly and sillily bring in two tables like that which he hath made, with a round hole in the middle, in his closet, to turn himself in"

Can anyone explain how Sir W. Coventry's worktable worked? I'm picturing a doughnut-shaped table with His Nibs in the middle surrounded by 360 deg. of paperwork.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"I’m picturing a doughnut-shaped table with His Nibs in the middle surrounded by 360 deg. of paperwork. "

And he sits on a swivel-stool in the middle and pivots about to oversee the world!

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Pepys's description of it last 4 July 1668:
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1668/07/04/

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

Cut off his nose! The Duke of Buckingham has gotten under Sir. W. Coventry's skin. I am reminded of the way Bill Clinton brought Newt Gingrich down by making him get off Air Force One by a side door, visibly offending his vanity and making him look like an ass. In Coventry's case, Buckingham's planned satire led to hot words and apparently to a challenge, enough over-reaction to give the king an excuse for disgracing Sir William.

Coventry is the second of Sam's sponsors, after Montagu, to fall from kingly grace because of palace politics. I understand that Sam, as a follower of James, will in the future come to suffer from this disorder himself.

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

Have become woefully behind in my Pepys, am working to catch up, and so far have been doing so in silence, but feel the need to respond here.

Andrew, I don't think that Coventry was threatening to cut *off* Killigrew's nose ... I was thinking more of something along the lines of what happens to Jack Nicolson in "Chinatown" -- a disfiguring cut that everyone can see, and that would essentially be a career-limiting event for an actor.

Jenny   Link to this

Todd, they really meant it when they said "cut of the nose". They slit the nose. It was more than a "disfiguring cut" it was a mutilation. Jack Nicholson's little plaster doesn't even come close.

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