Sunday 21 March 1668/69

(Lord’s day). Up, and by water over to Southwarke; and then, not getting a boat, I forced to walk to Stangate; and so over to White Hall, in a scull; where up to the Duke of York’s dressing-room, and there met Harry Saville, and understand that Sir W. Coventry is come to his house last night. I understand by Mr. Wren that his friends having, by Secretary Trevor and my Lord Keeper, applied to the King upon his first coming home, and a promise made that he should be discharged this day, my Lord Arlington did anticipate them, by sending a warrant presently for his discharge which looks a little like kindness, or a desire of it; which God send! though I fear the contrary: however, my heart is glad that he is out. Thence up and down the House. Met with Mr. May, who tells me the story of his being put by Sir John Denham’s place, of Surveyor of the King’s Works, who it seems, is lately dead, by the unkindness of the Duke Buckingham, who hath brought in Dr. Wren: though, he tells me, he hath been his servant for twenty years together in all his wants and dangers, saving him from want of bread by his care and management, and with a promise of having his help in his advancement, and an engagement under his hand for 1000l. not yet paid, and yet the Duke of Buckingham so ungrateful as to put him by: which is an ill thing, though Dr. Wren is a worthy man. But he tells me that the King is kind to him, and hath promised him a pension of 300l. a-year out of the Works; which will be of more content to him than the place, which, under their present wants of money, is a place that disobliges most people, being not able to do what they desire to their lodgings. Here meeting with Sir H. Cholmly and Povy, that tell me that my Lord Middleton is resolved in the Cabal that he shall not go to Tangier; and that Sir Edward Harlow [Harley], whom I know not, is propounded to go, who was Governor of Dunkirke, and, they say, a most worthy brave man, which I shall be very glad of. So by water (H. Russell coming for me) home to dinner, where W. Howe comes to dine with me; and after dinner propounds to me my lending him 500l., to help him to purchase a place — the Master of the Patent Office, of Sir Richard Piggott. I did give him a civil answer, but shall think twice of it; and the more, because of the changes we are like to have in the Navy, which will not make it fit for me to divide the little I have left more than I have done, God knowing what my condition is, I having not attended, and now not being able to examine what my state is, of my accounts, and being in the world, which troubles me mightily. He gone, I to the office to enter my journall for a week. News is lately come of the Algerines taking 3000l. in money, out of one of our Company’s East India ships, outward bound, which will certainly make the war last; which I am sorry for, being so poor as we are, and broken in pieces. At night my wife to read to me, and then to supper, where Pelling comes to see and sup with us, and I find that he is assisting my wife in getting a licence to our young people to be married this Lent, which is resolved shall be done upon Friday next, my great day, or feast, for my being cut of the stone. So after supper to bed, my eyes being very bad.

3 Annotations

Eric Walla   Link to this

That darned Buckingham! Meddling in affairs and bringing in this Dr, Wren. I'm sure it'll all turn out a great muddle and this Wren figure will prove as bad as the rest of them ...

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"Mr. May ...tells me...of his being put by Sir John Denham’s place, of Surveyor of the King’s Works, who it seems, is lately dead"

L&M note Denham had died 20 March [yesterday]. Hugh May had been his deputy since 1660. May had helped to transfer some of Buckingham's works of art to Holland, where they were sold to maintain him in exile during the revolution; he had served under the Duke at the battle of Worcester .

Hugh May is loyal to a fault: the Duke of Buckingham, not so much.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"W. Howe comes to dine with me; and after dinner propounds to me my lending him 500l., to help him to purchase a place — the Master of the Patent Office, of Sir Richard Piggott. "

L&M note it is possible that Howe did not obtain any post in the Patent Office: he later emigrated to Barbados.

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