Friday 19 March 1668/69
Up, and by water to White Hall, there to the Lords of the Treasury, and did some business, and here Sir Thomas Clifford did speak to me, as desirous that I would some time come and confer with him about the Navy, which I am glad of, but will take the direction of the Duke of York before I do it, though I would be glad to do something to secure myself, if I could, in my employment. Thence to the plaisterer’s, and took my face, and my Lord Duke of Albemarle’s, home with me by coach, they being done to my mind; and mighty glad I am of understanding this way of having the pictures of any friends. At home to dinner, where Mr. Sheres dined with us, but after dinner I left him and my wife, and with Commissioner Middleton and Kempthorne to a Court-martiall, to which, by virtue of my late Captainship, I am called, the first I was ever at; where many Commanders, and Kempthorne president. Here was tried a difference between Sir L. Van Hemskirke, the Dutch Captain who commands “The Nonsuch,” built by his direction, and his Lieutenant; a drunken kind of silly business. We ordered the Lieutenant to ask him pardon, and have resolved to lay before the Duke of York what concerns the Captain, which was striking of his Lieutenant and challenging him to fight, which comes not within any article of the laws martiall. But upon discourse the other day with Sir W. Coventry, I did advise Middleton, and he and I did forbear to give judgment, but after the debate did withdraw into another cabin, the Court being held in one of the yachts, which was on purpose brought up over against St. Katharine’s, it being to be feared that this precedent of our being made Captains, in order to the trying of the loss of “The Defyance,” wherein we are the proper persons to enquire into the want of instructions while ships do lie in harbour, evil use might be hereafter made of the precedent by putting the Duke of Buckingham, or any of these rude fellows that now are uppermost, to make packed Courts, by Captains made on purpose to serve their turns. The other cause was of the loss of “The Providence” at Tangier, where the Captain’s being by chance on shore may prove very inconvenient to him, for example’s sake, though the man be a good man, and one whom, for Norwood’s sake, I would be kind to; but I will not offer any thing to the excusing such a miscarriage. He is at present confined, till he can bring better proofs on his behalf of the reasons of his being on shore. So Middleton and I away to the Office; and there I late busy, making my people, as I have done lately, to read Mr. Holland’s Discourse of the Navy, and what other things I can get to inform me fully in all; and here late, about eight at night, comes Mr. Wren to me, who had been at the Tower to Coventry. He come only to see how matters go, and tells me, as a secret, that last night the Duke of York’s closet was broken open, and his cabinets, and shut again, one of them that the rogue that did it hath left plate and a watch behind him, and therefore they fear that it was only for papers, which looks like a very malicious business in design, to hurt the Duke of York; but they cannot know that till the Duke of York comes to town about the papers, and therefore make no words of it. He gone, I to work again, and then to supper at home, and to bed.